Young Democratic Socialists

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Young Democratic Socialists is the Youth arm of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Coordinating Committee of the Young Democratic Socialists

The following are the members of the Coordinating Committee of the YDS as of August 2, 2009:[1] Co-Chairs

Members At Large

The old logo for YDS

YDS Blog

The YDS Activist Blog Editorial Committee in 2010:[2]

YDS contacts, 2012

As of July 2012;[3]

DSA Youth Section

1993 Winter Conference

The 1993 DSA youth section Winter Conference was held February 12-14 at the The High School for the Humanities, New York.

Speakers included:

1993 Winter Conference

Fifty young DSA activists gathered in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania during the weekend of August 19-22 1993, for the annual Summer Conference of the DSA Youth Section.

Speakers at the conference included Jack Clark, Mark Levinson, and Joseph Schwartz of the DSA National Political Committee; Rafael Pizarro of the Committees of Correspondence; Julia Fitzgerald of New York DSA; Terri Burgess of Cleveland DSA; Hugh Cleland of Suffolk DSA; and Carmen Mitchell of Oberlin DSA.[5]

Summer conference 1995 "From Chicago to Chiapas"

August 17th - 20th, Ida Noyes Hall, University of Chicago


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Revived YDS

On the heels of a strong Young Democratic Socialists turnout at DSA’s 2007 national convention, its winter outreach conference’s success represents another stepping stone for a revived YDS. The conference title, “Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible: Reviving Democratic, Socialist, and Youth Activism,” honored the spirit of the young radicals of 1968 and reflected similar hopes and dreams that continue to motivate young activists forty years later.

On Friday evening February 15, 2008, the conference opened with a panel discussion: “2013 Isn’t Soon Enough: The Anti-War Movement Post-Bush.” The gathering of close to one hundred young activists served both as conference opener and an Iraq Moratorium event. YDS has participated in numerous Iraq Moratorium events (monthly actions to raise awareness against the war in Iraq) since September and the panel showcased our grassroots work on a national stage. [8]

2006 conference

The Young Democratic Socialists’ winter conference, cosponsored by the Columbia University Working Families Party chapter, was held February 17-19 2006, in New York City. It was entitled "Turning the Tide Towards Freedom: Building the Youth and Student Movement for Justice."

Speakers included Joseph Schwartz, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Christian Parenti, Gayatri Spivak, and Damu Smith, "who gave us the “big picture,” described and explained structural injustice at home and abroad, and got us fired up to continue and intensify the fight for a better world."[9]

Others included , Frances Fox Piven, Steve Max, Stephen Eric Bronner, Clark Herndon, Tessa Garcia and Hector Soto.[10]

2009 YDS conference

From February 27th to March 1st, 2009 Young Democratic Socialists held its national outreach conference, “Beyond the Ballot: Making the Movement Matter,” at the Academy of Environmental Science in New York City. The event focused on developing strategies for building progressive and radical social movements to push the Obama administration to the left. YDS successfully increased the prominence of socialist politics in workshops and plenaries while articulating why building a democratic socialist organization is necessary to achieve even moderate reforms, let alone a serious power shift from capital to labor.

Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!, spoke on the plenary “Now, the Hard Part: Movement Building Under Barack Obama,” with Democratic Socialists of America member Bill Fletcher, Jr., a veteran radical trade unionist, and DSA Vice-Chair and Temple University Professor Joseph Schwartz. Reminding the audience of the important role that media play in making and breaking progressive change, Goodman encouraged activists to use grassroots forms of communication, while admitting the limitation of mainstream media in promoting anti-establishment viewpoints, even when they are popular. Fletcher reminded the audience that socialism is more than just a topic for study groups and spoke about the need to critically examine social movements and organizations in order to better the movement we already have. Schwartz proclaimed that there is social democracy in the United States – but that it is restricted to the affluent in American suburbs with their excellent public schools and services. He added that a key goal of democratic socialists is to expand such social benefits to all. All speakers agreed that the Obama administration offered an opening to social movements but that we need to have one foot in the system and one in the streets. Visible protest with direct demands would help distance Obama from his corporate backers.

The next plenary, “Student Debt: The New Indentured Servitude,” fit right into YDS’ national programming, as the organization, at its Summer Conference, voted to make student debt a national priority. The panel featured academics academics Christine Kelly and Jeffery J. Williams and was moderated by leading YDS and New Jersey intercollegiate activist Michael McCabe. Kelly, a historian of student activism, discussed the fight against tuition increases in the days of Roosevelt and afterward, noting that only organized student bodies could successfully fight against raises in fees and for increased funding.

The closing panel was “We are an Intergenerational Movement!” with DSA Vice-Chair and Midwest Academy trainer Steve Max and journalist and author Liza Featherstone. Though he would offer no advice to student activists on how to organize themselves, Max did explain that the socialist movement had helped change the U.S. for the better. While not always featured prominently in textbooks, socialist organizations have helped activists become smarter and more organized movement builders. Featherstone stressed the critical role socialist organizations play in building organic activists and intellectuals.[11]

2010 National Conference

The 2010 National Conference, A Real Change for Change, will be held March 5-7 in New York City, New York. Speakers are to include Cornel West, Gayatri Spivak, Christian Parenti, Liza Featherstone, Bertha Lewis and Frances Fox Piven.[12]

2011 Winter Conference

TheirCrisisFLYER Color Final6.jpg

On the weekend of March 18th-20th, 2011, the Young Democratic Socialists held their annual Winter outreach conference "Their Crisis, Our Pain: The Democratic Socialist Response to the Great Recession". Cornel West "will be the featured speaker on Saturday the 19th, and we will also host John Nichols, Bertha Lewis, Mark Engler, and Dan Cantor from the Working Families Party.

Other listed speakers included Komozi Woodard, Corey Walker, Fabricio Rodriguez, Christian Parenti, Stephanie Fairyington, Christine Kelly, Sheila Collins, Billy Wharton, Liz Shuler, Martin Weinstein, Michelle O'Brien, Skip Roberts, Joseph Schwartz.

Panels on race, the environment, organizing, and other topics will allow participants to learn from and communicate with fellow activists on some of the most important domestic and international issues. The event is perfect for both newcomers to Democratic Socialism/YDS, as well as activist veterans.

Add your name to the list here and you'll be notified when online registration goes live. Invite all your friends!

Location, Bayard Rustin High School 351 W 18th St New York, NY 10011.[13]


In 2002 Young Democratic Socialists, was a member of the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition.[14].

Chapter contacts 2012

Arkansas organizing committee

Hendrix College (Conway, AR)

California chapter

Los Angeles Coalition YDS (Los Angeles Area, CA)

Organizing committee, UC Davis (Davis, CA)

Connecticut chapter

Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT)

Florida organizing committee

Valencia Community College

Indiana organizing committee

IUPUI (Indianapolis, IN)

Kentucky chapter

Lindsey Wilson College

Organizing committee

Centre College

Kansas chapter

Wichita State University (Wichita, KS)

Kansas University (Lawrence, KS)

Massachusetts organizing committee

U-Mass Amherst (Amherst, MA) - Organizing in Five Colleges

Michigan chapter

Michigan State (East Lansing, MI)

New Jersey chapter

William Paterson University (Wayne, NJ)

Organizing committee

Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ)

New York chapters

New York City YDS (New York, NY)

Vassar College

Ohio chapters

Wooster College (Wooster, OH)

Ohio University

Organizing committees

Wright State University (Dayton, OH)

  • Phillip Logan

Youngstown State University (Youngstown, OH)

Oklahoma organizing committee

University of Tulsa

Oregon organizing committee

University of Oregon (Eugene, OR)

Pennsylvania chapters

Temple University (Philadelphia, PA)

Penn State (State College, PA)

University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)

Texas chapters

Sam Houston State (Huntsville, TX)

Lonestar State Kingwood

External links