The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) are in a “financial crisis” amid a $2 million budget deficit which may require the organization to make seven-figure budget cuts and layoff staff, according to several members of the DSA’s Marxist “Bread & Roses” caucus.
In an article published last week in The Call, a news outlet run by the DSA’s Bread & Roses caucus, DSA members Alex Pellitteri, Kristin Schall, and Laura Waldin outlined their proposal to the organization’s National Political Committee (NPC) for sweeping budget cuts and staff layoffs.
“For 2024, DSA is projecting $5 million in income and $7 million in expenses. That means we eventually need to come up with $2 million to break even,” the Marxist caucus members wrote, suggesting “at least $1.1 million” in cuts.
“No one would be considering layoffs if the deficit weren’t so extreme,” they wrote. “But now that we are in this crisis, we can’t fix it by hollowing out the organization. If we don’t reduce staff costs, DSA won’t be a place where anyone wants to work — or organize.”
The Marxists accused the DSA’s “top directors” of mismanaging their dues, and of running the DSA “in the model of a progressive non-profit rather than a mass party that is capable of getting us closer to a rupture with capitalism.”
The DSA’s financial situation is so dire that without the cuts, the organization may not be able to afford a convention in 2025, the members wrote.
According to the Bread & Roses caucus members, $3.65 million — accounting for 72 percent of the national DSA’s income and 58 percent of its expenditures — goes to staff.
“Without asking volunteers to take severance and be laid off, we would have to give up other expenses that members are counting on,” the DSA members wrote.
The Marxist caucus members submitted a proposal to DSA suggesting seven-figure budget cuts, “volunteer layoffs” — beginning with their non-union director-level employees — and a $500,000 cut in staff-related expenses.
In justifying their proposal for layoffs, the DSA members wrote that “In DSA, ‘the boss’ is fellow working-class activists who contribute a portion of our salary to pay for staff’s, as well as our limited free time to build the organization side-by-side with them.”
“DSA exists to be a vehicle for these members to advance the cause of socialism, and budgetary considerations should always make that the top priority…DSA members and union members have the right to exercise control over how their dues money is spent. And not only do we have the right, but bottom-up leadership is actually essential for a vibrant socialist movement and labor movement,” they wrote.