Who we are & what we do
The Young Democratic Socialists is part of the international struggle to build a better world. We organize on college and high school campuses to fight for the immediate needs of workers and students, while building our capacity to fight for more radical and structural changes in the long term. We call the better society we are fighting for democratic socialism.
We are a national organization of about fifteen campus chapters and several hundred activists, and we are the student section of the Democratic Socialists of America. We are proud of our unique status as one of the few national, multi-issue left-wing student organizations in the United States. Twice a year we meet at our winter outreach conference and summer leadership retreat to share our experiences and build a national community. We also work together to put forward our political perspective on our blog, The Activist.
YDS Cochairs Alex and Matt with Javi and Zac, representatives from our sister socialist party in Mexico
Throughout history, young people have kindled the flames of social movements. In the US, students initiated successful fights against Jim Crow and the Vietnam War, and the more recent struggles against neoliberal austerity in Greece, Quebec, and on Wall Street have had an undeniably youthful energy. In 2014, the leftward trajectory of youth in the United States is visible in the increasing membership and participation of students in the Young Democratic Socialists.
This President’s Day weekend, over 100 young activists from across the country braved a blizzard and bitter cold to converge on New York City for the annual YDS winter conference, “Beyond Capitalism: Activism and Ideas for the Next Left”. The conference included plenaries, presentations, and workshops to strengthen both the analytical and strategic acumen of YDS members, while also providing a welcoming environment to build a national community for young socialist activists.
Group break out during the transformative organizing workshop.
We'll have a full report from the YDS winter conference up soon (now available here). We had over 100 young activists attend the two day conference, and we started it all of with a big crowd of 140+ YDSers and New York City community members who came on a Friday night to listen to our plenary on "New Directions in Feminism". Until we get the full report ready, we wanted to share some of the best pictures from the conference.
All of the photos were taken by two super talented YDSers - Alexis Wright-Whitley and Marcel Gretzschel. You can check out Alexis's professional work here.
Click on the image above to download a pdf of the Red Letter!
YDS activists have a critical role to play. On our campuses and in our communities we are working with students, workers, and community members to educate, agitate, and organize for a better society.
Going into 2014 we have a lot to be proud of, starting with our summer leadership retreat, which brought together 40 YDS activists for a weekend of political education and activist training.