The Activist

On Mass Incarceration

by Valerie Reynoso

At a staggering 2.3 million incarcerated Americans, the US is currently home to the largest prison population in the world.  Many believe that mass incarceration, the growth of the prison population that has increased by 500% within the past thirty years, will ensure our safety through harsher methods; however, mass incarceration is especially detrimental to communities of color.

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In Baltimore, DSA Member Ian Schlakman Hopes to Turn the City Council Green

by Alec Shea

ed. note: in the original published version of the article, Ian Schlakman's name was misspelled. 

It is rare for third party candidates, even those that end up winning, to outdo their opponents in terms of fundraising. In Baltimore’s 12th City Council District, Green Party candidate and DSA member Ian Schlakman has achieved that rare milestone; he raised almost $10,000 more than his Democratic opponent, Robert Stokes. Schlakman is an IT worker who runs a small company that manages software systems in Baltimore schools. A fixture in Baltimore’s organizing community, he has succeeded in uniting a number of the groups on Baltimore’s left in support of a campaign based on issues of housing, anti-racism, and workers’ rights.

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The Crisis of the Status Quo

by Zane Dundon

One of the most notable differences between socialists and liberals in the United States is that socialists emphasize the extreme sense of urgency they feel about the problems facing people today, while liberals generally appear content advocating gradual changes. The reason for this divide is evident when one examines the rhetoric of the liberal elite: simply put, they don’t think things are that bad. They advocate for a few tweaks here and there, but scoff at the notion of radical systemic change.

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Interview: The Activist Speaks With an IWW Organizer

Next month, on September 9th, the United States could witness the largest wave of prison strikes in its history. Strike actions across the country are being organized by the IWW’s Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee. The strikes aim to mark the anniversary of 1971’s Attica prison revolt. I spoke to Azzura Crispin, an activist in Austin Texas who is the media co-chair of the IWOC as well as the founder of PAPS (Prison Abolition Prisoner Solidarity) about the plan for the strike and the opportunities for radical activism it presents for YDS and DSA members. In "Toward an Anti-racist Socialism," YDS recognized the intersections between capitalism and racist systems like mass incarceration. Organizing around prison strikes and the labor rights of prisoners helps to further highlight the degree to which capitalism and racism work together in society.

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Housing in Red Vienna

by Leo Thuman

Denmark? The Netherlands? Maybe it's time for democratic socialists to look at turn of the century Vienna as inspiration.  In the second,third, and beginning of the fourth decades of the twentieth century, Austria’s capital was known as “Red Vienna” and by most leftist accounts run ably by the Social Democratic Party.  The legacy of this period is one that socialists should emulate and look upon as a standard upon which to measure progressive and social reforms in housing and social services.

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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)