Young Democratic Socialists of America

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

Until August 2017 it was known as Young Democratic Socialists.

YDSA conferences

2021-2022 YDSA-National Coordinating Committee

  • Emma D, At-Large Member, University of Virginia
  • Kevin K, At-Large Member, University of Central Florida
  • Rafi Ash, At-Large Member, Amherst Regional High School

2020 YDSA leadership

The Young Democratic Socialists of America NCC, 2020:

2018-19 leadership


Newly elected Young Democratic Socialists of America national officers (L–R): Matthew Wolfsen, Ga. Tech; Eliott Geary, U. Tn.-Chattanooga; Ajmal Alami, Va. Tech-Blacksburg; Amelia Blair-Smith, Carleton College, Northfield MN; Sebastian Uchida Chavez, City College of NY; and national staffer Anna Bonomo.

2017-2018 leadership

Young Democratic Socialists of America National Coordinating Committee, 2017-2018.[2]

Generation Left

"Generation Left: Millennials Building the Next Socialist Movement" Mayday Community Space, 214 Starr Street, Brooklyn, NY, Friday 12 February 2016, 18:00 till Sunday 14 February 2016, organized by Young Democratic Socialists.

This year’s event comes at an unprecedented time for socialism in the United States. Polls show the growing popularity of democratic socialism and the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign among people under 35.

Those indicating intention to attend on the Wherevent website included Bhaskar Sunkara, David Littman, Emma Lucia Llano, Mark Benjamin Vondrasek, Andrew Shelton, Jameson Goetz , Chris Maisano , Ryan Bruckenthal , Juan Antonio Hernandez, John Guzek, Daniel Ezra Moraff, Joseph Schwartz, Joshua Nodiff, Heidi Easton Chua Schwa, Rahel Biru, Winnie Wong, Brandon Kemp, Sara Ali, Neal Meyer, Michele Rossi, Valencia Barbosa-Ferrer, Jason Hugh Korzelius, Mercy Villa, Barry Goldberg, Spencer Brown, Paul Goodspeed, Alex Kudeyar, Joey Iannitelli, Sean Bailey, Kayla Popuchet, Ben Packer, Alex Nitecki, Alex Nitecki, Bruce Haskin, Noelle Flan, Adam Goldman, Patrick Bon Tonissen, Patrick Bon Tonissen, Ethan Earle, Jack Suria Linares, John Richard Nolan, Byrne Hollander, Meryssa Dickerson, David Duhalde, Riaasa Muntaz, Desiree Feliciano, Louie Messina, David Lorenzo III, Priscilla Cordero, Kelsey Fatu Lizotte, Sean Monahan, Tonee Burley, Diana Dang, Orlando Escobar, Claudia Marroquin, Michelle Denise Fisher, Hoang Do, Kate Bush, Nora Evita Aresti Osis, J-anie Segui, Michael Brandini, Jake Burger, Ashley Rodriguez, Darci Collins, Shlomo Boukai, Russell David, Jonny Tsunami Iezin, Ryan Adler-Levine, Shelby Murphy, Karie Ames, Adam Joseph Cardo, Eric Dolan.[3]


Past and present.






District of Columbia

















New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota





South Carolina

South Dakota







Amalgamated groups

Coordinating Committee of the YDS


YDS-Coordinating Committee (YDS-CC)

The Activist Editorial Committee

Social Media Leaders

The Red Letter





The following are the members of the Coordinating Committee of the YDS as of August 2, 2009:[8] Co-Chairs

Members At Large

The old logo for YDS

YDS Blog

The YDS Activist Blog Editorial Committee in 2010:[9]

YDS contacts, 2012

As of July 2012;[10]

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.[12]

"From Chicago to Chiapas"

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. [15]

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."[16]

Others included , Frances Fox Piven, Steve Max, Stephen Eric Bronner, Clark Herndon, Tessa Garcia and Hector Soto.[17]

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.[18]

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.[19]

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.[20]

“Revolution at the Crossroads"

From February 17-19 2017, members of Young Democratic Socialists (YDS) gathered for “Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump.” The first YDS conference since the post-Bernie/Trump boom, the gathering "acted as a rally point for all our new members as well as the staging ground for building and confronting the new far-right administration".

More than 250 people attended, almost three times as many as last year. Many of the attendees had just joined DSA in the past couple of months, and many were first politicized by the Bernie campaign. But "as less than a month had passed since the Inauguration, all attendees were concentrated on President Trump's new far-right administration".

Longtime DSA veteran Michael Lighty spoke first. The first openly LGBT person to lead a U.S. socialist organization, when he was national director of DSA in the early 90s, Lighty is now the director of public policy for National Nurses United. The Nurses were a key ally of the Bernie campaign, headlining The People's Summit which DSA co-sponsored last year. He spoke passionately of the need to make socialism more readily accessible to the masses already energized by the Bernie campaign. Joining him were veteran anarcho-syndicalist and co-founder of People for Bernie Winnie Wong, who spoke equally passionately on the need to work both within the Democratic Party to ease the path for more left-leaning candidates, and outside the party. Rounding out the panel was Khalid Kamau, member of Black Lives Matter and candidate for city council in the City of South Fulton, Georgia. He highlighted the right wing's long-term strategy, especially their use of local races as a path for base building and candidate training. He argued that the left also needs to employ this strategy.

The plenaries continued Saturday, with the first focused on introducing many of the new members to Democratic Socialism. On the panel were Joseph Schwartz, member of DSA's National Political Committee and DSA vice-chair; Dan La Botz, author and long-time trade union activist; and Rahel Biru, co-chair of New York City DSA. They were followed later in the day by Jose La Luz, trade unionist and DSA vice-chair, and Komozi Woodard, professor at Sarah Lawrence College, who spoke on people of color in socialist movements. Of particular note was Jose LaLuz's rousing call to arms against the Trump administration, delivered without the use of a microphone, which received a standing ovation.

The workshops on Saturday provided a valuable space to hear different perspectives on the resistance. They covered several important topics, from the labor movement to international perspectives, to critiques of intersectionality. Of particular note was the “Skills Training to Fight the Right on Your Campus” workshop, led by myself and fellow Anti-Racism Working Group member Javier Miranda, and moderated by YDS Coordinating Committee member Andrew Shelton.

During the last day of the conference there was a final set of plenaries and group discussions. Longtime DSA member Michele Rossi and CUNY Professor Nichole Shippen spoke about socialist feminism and the importance of resisting the liberal feminist narrative of Hillary Clinton and Sheryl Sandberg, who prioritize women in power over the needs of working-class women. Workshop topics included building sanctuary campuses, socialist political education, and queer liberation. In the last hour of the conference, attendees reflected on their successes, the challenges ahead, and how to best fight the Trump administration.[21]


In 2002 Young Democratic Socialists, was a member of the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition.[22].

Circa 2001 contacts

Contacts circa 2001;[23]

Region One: New York City/New Jersey/Philadelphia

Region Two: New York State

Region Three: Midwest/West

Region Four: Washington, DC Area

Region Five: Southern California

Region Six: Central California

Region Seven: New England

External links


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