2018 Winter Conference Program

Friday, February 16th, 2018


Toward a Socialist Future 

7:00 PM, Reception

Friday night we will be welcoming attendees with a reception in D.C. You'll have the chance to register, review the full program for the weekend, and get to meet YDSA & DSA leaders from around the country. Speakers from the YDSA National Coordinating Committee will help kick off the event with a remarks to kick of the weekend. Food and refreshments will be provided. 

Saturday, February 17th, 2018


The Activist Agenda - Democratic Socialism's Strategy for Trump's Second Year

10:00 AM, Plenary

Trump and his administration enter year two, and their policy of unhinged class warfare against working people has become clear. While the Republican Party seems determined to force their agenda of corporate greed, there remain areas of struggle where democratic socialists can make an impact. Here speakers from a variety of areas will discuss exciting campaigns around issues such as Medicare for All, socialist electoral politics, and the labor movement.

Anatomy of Successful Campus Labor Work

12:15 PM, Workshop

Speakers from across the labor movement and campuses will talk about challenges and tactics for building effective campaigns and solidarity on your campus.

Medicare for All: From Demand to Reality

12:15 PM, Workshop

Medicare for All is a demand which has captured the imagination of activists and working people across the country. Organizers wil discuss the opprotunies and challanges of this campaign and how we can make it a reality.

Democratic Socialism on the Ballot

12:15 PM, Workshop

Democratic socialists were swept into offices across the country in 2017. This coming year will pose even more opportunities for socialists to win big at the ballot box. 

Education is a Right: Free and Fully Funded College for All

12:15 PM, Workshop

Education should be a human right for all, not a privilege for a few. Organizers will discuss how this fight intersects with socialist's vision for a radical future and how it can be won.

Not For Sale: Housing Justice for All

12:15 PM, Workshop

Organizers have been able to make a huge impact on housing justice in cities across the country. We will hear from activists helping to lead these campaigns and how we can fight for justice on and off the campus.

1:45 PM, Lunch

Lunch will feature a number of breakout sessions for students including: 

  • High School Student Breakout
  • Community College Breakout
  • Persons of Color Breakout
  • Women/Gender Non-Conforming Breakout

Capitalism Is The Crisis

2:45 PM, Plenary

Our analysis of capitalism as a political system is a fundamental part of our perspective as socialists. Our speakers will talk about the capitalism, how does this system destroy lives, manipulate our political system, and drive down huge sections of people in society. Understanding how this system works and effects us can help us overcome it. 

Left Beat: Using the Media Effectively

4:30 PM, Workshop

The media can be an effective tool for social and economic justice. We will hear from experienced organizers to talk about how media can be used in a variety of ways to support our political work.

A Socialist World is Possible: Fighting for Environmental Justice

4:30 PM, Workshop

The climate crisis that capitalism has created is ravaging our planet and our economy. How would democratic socialism address the climate crisis and what can we do today to make this possible?

The Struggle for Justice against the Alt-Right on Campus

4:30 PM, Workshop

As the alt-right moves onto campuses to recruit and spread hate, organizers will discuss how we halt their progress and turn the tide toward an inclusive democratic socialist vision of society. 

No Human Is Illegal: Immigrant Justice in the Trump Era

4:30 PM, Workshop

The Trump Administration came to power on a platform of intolerance toward immigrant families and workers. Now more than ever we must be prepared to struggle and win to protect our communities.

Against Apartheid: BDS Activism and Democratic Socialism

4:30 PM, Workshop

Organizers from within the region will discuss the nature and history of the Israeli colonization of Palestine and how students and activists in the US can work with the BDS movement to bring justice for all.

One Struggle, One World

7:00 PM, Public Event!

As socialists our struggle is fundamentally international. We will hear from a variety of international speakers talking about the struggle for workers rights and socialism across the globe.

This event will be open to the public.


Sunday, February 18th, 2018


Democratic Socialism: A Radical Vision for a New Society

10:30 AM, Plenary

What would a democratic socialist society look like? Our speakers will talk about their vision for democratic socialism and how our political, cultural, and economic lives be changed through this vision for a different world.

12:15 PM, Lunch

Running & Planning a Meeting

1:30 PM, Workshop

There are some fundamental skills that organizers return to again and again in their lives. Being able to plan and run an effective meeting is a basic but critical skill for our work whether you are new to organizing or not. 

Recruiting & Doing One on Ones

1:30 PM, Workshop

Our movement grows through our relationships to one another. Organizers will discuss how to build our one by one through discussion and recruitment.

Growing Leaders in Your Chapter

1:30 PM, Workshop

The bigger we get, the more work needs to be done, and the more leaders we need to take on this work. Being able to grow and empower new leaders to share in this work is essential to our success as a movement.

Power Mapping Your Campaign

1:30 PM, Workshop

In any campaign you need to know who your enemies and allies are. Here we will discuss how to plan our work in order to run effective campaigns.

Young Democratic Socialists of America, Then and Now

3:15 PM, Plenary

YDSA has a rich history that some of our most dedicated and committed leaders have come out of. We will close our 2018 conference by hearing from some of these leaders so we can plot a course for our future.