The Rank-and-File Strategy

A Guide from the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission

A Strategy for Socialism

Problem 1

The organized working class is weak and the level of class struggle, despite recent bright spots, is low. Only a small percentage of workers are in unions. But without a large, confident, well-organized working class movement, we cannot get close to socialism.

Problem 2

At this point in our history, socialists, for the most part, are separated politically and socially from the majority of the working class.


The rank-and-file strategy attempts to bridge this divide: socialists join with and learn from worker leaders in a common effort to foment badly needed class struggle. Through this open conflict with employers, workers can come to see themselves as leaders and build class power.

How We Do It

A number of tactics can bring DSA as an organization into close contact with organized workers and enable our members to learn from their fellow workers.

Case Studies

DSA members are putting the rank-and-file strategy to work, transforming their unions and making labor a stronger force for fighting capital.

See how they’re accomplishing this in these case studies.

Members of CWA on strike against Verizon in 2016

Get Started

You can begin putting the rank-and-file strategy to work. See this list of resources to find out how.