Gallup-ing Socialism

It seems as if all of the hysterical right-wing talk about creeping socialism might be doing some useful work for us after all. Last year, a Rasmussen poll showed that a bare majority of respondents said that they prefered capitalism to socialism, and that people under the age of 30 were almost evenly divided on the question of socialism versus capitalism. Last week, Gallup released a poll with all kinds of interesting information about the ideological proclivities of the American public, and it found that 36% percent of Americans - a minority, but a pretty significant minority - said that they had "a positive view of socialism" off the top of their head. The results are even more interesting when you break them down by ideology and partisan affiliation - 61% of self-identified liberals and 53% of Democrats said that they viewed socialism positively, as did 35% of independents and a surprisingly large 20% of self-identified conservatives.

Of course, all of the usual caveats apply: the poll did not define what socialism is or ask people what they think the term means, and overwhelming majorities still respond favorably to ideological categories like "small business," "free enterprise," and "entrepreneurs." Still, as the authors of the report conclude, "'Socialism' is not a completely negative term in today's America," and more people are likely starting equate the term with Western European welfare states. That's a problem, but I think all of us can agree that it's one that we'd like to have. It beats trying to convince people that socialism doesn't equal breadlines, censorship, the gulag, and the communal sharing of toothbrushes and underwear. One shouldn't place too much stock in polls like this, but it seems as if the discursive barriers that have held the left back for decades might be breaking down a bit. We've got some real opportunities here if we have the courage and imagination to take advantage of them.

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Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump

February 17, 2017 · $20.00 USD

Location: MayDay Space
Where: 176 St Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
When: Friday, February 17th at 6 PM to Sunday, February 19th to 4 PM

Political Context

This Presidents’ Day weekend, the Young Democratic Socialists will gather for our annual winter conference in New York City titled Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump. We did not choose the name lightly. In doing so, we call for leftists to collectively confront Trump and Trumpism at every possible opportunity. When a Trump administration attempts mass deportations of undocumented workers, when it attempts to register Muslims or roll back worker protections, when it attempts to take away reproductive, LGTBQ, civil, or any other rights, then we must militantly resist to prevent such measures.

To succeed, this must be explicitly socialist resistance. With liberalism having repeatedly shown itself incapable of combating the far right, it is now the time for socialists to openly declare our place in building the mass, multi-racial, and working class movement necessary for defeating the Trump administration. In this struggle, millennials will play an outsized role. That is why this conference comes at such a critical time—together we must create spaces for democratic and strategic discussion, spaces to gain organizing skills, and most importantly, spaces to form networks of young radicals for the future struggles ahead. These spaces will only come together if socialists come together. Join us this Presidents Weekend and help ignite the movement to defeat the Trump administration, continue the political revolution, and build the socialist alternative.

Key Deadlines

  • January 8th: Travel Scholarship for Air Travel (for application see below)
  • January 15th: Travel Scholarship for Non-Air Travel (ex: bus, car, train, etc.)
  • February 3rd: Early Bird Registration Ends - Tickets prices go up from $5 to $10
  • February 10th: Free Housing - We have limited free housing. You need to first register, then you will be sent an application for free housing.

Apply for a travel scholarship here! (First Deadline January 8, 2017)

Check out the working program (subject to change)