When Bernie Sanders broke on the national political scene, he quickly became identified with his signature issues: economic inequality, universal health care, and tuition-free public higher education, among others. While Bernie has been a critic of US foreign policy since his opposition to the Vietnam war, his political profile has been shaped mostly by his focus on domestic issues. So has the new US left that mushroomed in the wake of his 2016 presidential campaign, including DSA. Since then, our movement has focused its practical activities largely on the domestic scene, and less on international and foreign policy questions. One could make a case that the relative non-salience of these questions early in its development helped to facilitate the new left’s growth. The twentieth century left was chronically divided by international questions, namely those concerning the Soviet Union and the Cold War, leading to bitter ideological fights that further weakened an already fragmented movement.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine quickly put international issues near the top of the nation’s political agenda, and the left has had to react accordingly. As such, this issue of Socialist Forum focuses largely on questions of internationalism, imperialism, and foreign policy. Some of these pieces directly address the war in Ukraine, while others focus on broader questions of international affairs, namely the challenge of anti-imperialism in an increasingly multi-polar world. Other articles tackle other important issues including DSA’s electoral strategy and the history of the American democratic socialist movement. As always, we invite readers to submit responses to any of these articles to our inbox: socialistforum [at] dsausa.org.