Democratic Socialism is a form of Socialism that according to several definitions of the term, seem to imply a decentralized state where workers have some form of agency over both their government as well as their workplace. Here is the definition as given by Wikipedia:
Democratic socialism is a political philosophy supporting political democracy within a socially owned economy, with a particular emphasis on economic democracy, workplace democracy and workers' self-management within a market socialist economy or some form of a decentralised planned socialist economy.
It seems that, at least for this definition, it is no doubt on the "left" side of the political spectrum but the definition seems to allow for a lesser centralized authority - depending on what "socially owned" means in practice. Indeed, some prominent Democratic Socialists, like George Orwell, take an extreme view of the "Socially owned" part to the point where he completely and vehemently denounces any form of Totalitarianism as John Rodden states:
And Orwell says that the Spanish Civil War was his watershed political experience. “The Spanish War and other events in 1936-37, turned the scale. Thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since nineteen 1936 has been written directly or indirectly against totalitarianism and for Democratic Socialism as I understand it.” And the word “for” is italicized.
From Orwell's point of view, Democratic Socialism has no room for totalitarianism at all, and this includes the Authoritarian communist regimes of his time as he wrote in his wartime diary:
"One could not have a better example of the moral and emotional shallowness of our time, than the fact that we are now all more or less pro Stalin. This disgusting murderer is temporarily on our side, and so the purges, etc., are suddenly forgotten." — George Orwell, in his war-time diary, 3 July 1941
Few people consider Orwell to be unaware of what his understanding of politics is given his immersive experience in politics and prolific, well thought out writings such as Animal Farm and 1984. So it does not seem a foolish choice to take his word on what Democratic Socialism means.
Given this, I have read some pages on the Democratic Socialists of America, they seem to adhere closely to the Wikipedia definition of Democratic Socialism, but they also openly allow a Communist Caucus, and have done so since 2017. The presence of this caucus in a Democratic Socialist group is openly counter to George Orwell's idea of Democratic Socialism and is a discrepancy that has puzzled me. Given this stark difference in understanding Democratic Socialism, there has to be a crucial premise the DSA has that George Orwell does not, or vice versa. It is this missing premise that caused me to ask:
Why does the DSA have an understanding of Democratic Socialism that is not antipathic toward communism, while George Orwell, a prominent Democratic Socialist, saw not just a distinction between Democratic Socialism and Communism, but vehemently detested the latter?