Jeffery J. Williams

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Jeffery J. Williams

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.

The 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.[1]