Information & Working Schedule

Join us for our annual national gathering of young socialist activists this President’s Day Weekend, February 12-14, 2016, in New York. The conference, “Generation Left: Millennials Building the Next Socialist Movement,” will be held at the Mayday Community Space, 176 St. Nicholas Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237.

Register Here!

See Full Schedule Here

See Conference Speakers

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. This conference will provide a crucial opportunity to discuss how we can continue to build an organized socialist voice to meet this rising tide of potentially game-changing support.

Equally important, this student gathering will offer a critical opportunity for socialist student activists to talk about the growing national anti-racist campus movement. Students are mobilizing direct actions at levels not seen at universities for decades. Socialists need to coordinate their strategy to play a productive and proactive role in our own schools and in solidarity efforts for racial justice. “Generation Left” will provide such a planning space on a national level.

Be part of that conversation. Be part of Generation Left.

Last year's YDS conference at the Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies in New York City.

There are many ways to get to New York City, but we understand many students and young adults are on a budget! Please review the following wallet-friendly suggestions for getting to YDS16:

TRAVEL: For those traveling by air, check out this page for tips on booking the most affordable flights into JFK, LGA or EWR. You may also want to consider traveling by bus on BoltBus or Megabus, or carpooling with a nearby DSA or nearby YDS chapter that might be driving in from your area!

HOUSING: We recommend you first explore your personal networks to see if you might know someone (or someone who knows someone) in New York City. We may be able to help find local supporter housing, though spaces are extremely limited. You can also search for affordable hostels in Manhattan or Downtown Brooklyn. If you have the means to stay in a hotel or motel, please do book at a union establishment (see HTC or UNITE HERE to find union hotels).

Generation Left Speakers Include:

Bhaskar Sunkara: Founder and editor of Jacobin magazine. He is a Vice-Chair of the Democratic Socialists of America and a former Young Democratic Socialists activist.


Liza Featherstone: Liza Featherstone is a contributing editor to The Nation and is the magazine’s first-ever advice columnist. She is the editor of False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Clinton (Verso, 2016), and the author of other books including Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers Rights at Walmart (Basic, 2004). She is also a columnist for amNY.


Ben Packer: Ben is a junior at Dartmouth College who has been very involved in College Students for Bernie, Coders for Sanders, and other grassroots organizations that closely collaborate with the campaign. In his spare time he reads participatory democratic and socialist economic theory and plays around with the design of software for radical democracy. 


Sarah Jaffe: Independent journalist, a fellow at the Nation Institute and co-host of Dissent's Belabored podcast. Her book, Necessary Trouble, will be out in August from Nation Books.


Sarah Leonard: Senior editor at The Nation, and co-editor of The Future We Want: Radical Ideas for the New Century. She is also editor-at-large at Dissent and a contributing editor to The New Inquiry. She is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.


Ethan Earle: Ethan was born in Siler City, North Carolina. He used to work for The Working World in Buenos Aires and New York City. His M.A. thesis in International Relations examined U.S. foreign policy towards Bolivia under Evo Morales. He is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.


Kazembe Balagun: Born in Harlem, NY, Kazembe received his B.A. in Philosophy from Hunter College. From 2007 to 2013, he was the Education/Outreach Coordinator at the Brecht Forum. Kazembe recently contributed an essay on “We Be Reading Marx Where We From: Socialism and the Black Freedom Struggle” to the book Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA.


Elizabeth Henderson: A member of the Democratic Socialists of America’s National Political Committee and is the national chair for DSA’s We Need Bernie Campaign.


Joseph M. Schwartz: Prominent democratic socialist activist and author of the award-winning The Future of Democratic Equality (Routledge, 2009). His analysis appears in Dissent, In These Times, teleSUR onlineand more. He is on the faculty of Temple University and is a Vice-Chair of the Democratic Socialists of America and a member of its National Political Committee. 


Jared Abbott: A PhD student in Government at Harvard University where he studies participatory democracy and the Left in Latin America, and is a volunteer organizer with the Harvard Graduate Students Union. He is also a member of the National Political Committee of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Full Schedule:

Friday, February 12, 2016

6 PM: Registration and Welcome
7 PM: Building on Bernie: What Comes Next
  • Bhaskar Sunkara, Jacobin Magazine
  • Ethan Earle, Rosa Luxemberg Stiftung
  • Liz Henderson, Co-Chair - We Need Bernie; Democratic Socialists of America
  • Ben Packer, College Students for Bernie
  • Moumita Ahmed, People for Bernie -Moderator

Saturday, February 13, 2016

9 AM: Registration and Breakfast

10 AM: Understanding Intersectionality (Plenary)

  • Michele Rossi, Philadelphia Democratic Socialists of America
  • Maria Svart, National Director, Democratic Socialists of America
  • Spencer Brown, Wesleyan University Young Democratic Socialists
  • Liza Featherstone, The Nation


Breakout Group Leaders: Mercy Villa, Desiree Feliciano, Adam Cardo, Kayla Pace

12:15 PM: Workshop Block #1 - Education

Fighting the Neoliberal University

  • Dustin Guastella, Philadelphia Democratic Socialists of America
  • Mindy Isser, Fight for Fifteen and Service Employees International Union
  • Jason Schulman, New York City Democratic Socialists of America
  • Jared Abbott, Boston Democratic Socialists of America -Moderator

Socialist Feminism

  • Mercy Villa, William Patterson Young Democratic Socialists
  • Desiree Feliciano, William Patterson Young Democratic Socialists 
  • Deirdre Cooper Owens, Professor of African American History at CUNY's Queens College
  • Michele Rossi, Philadelphia Democratic Socialists of America

Gender and Sexuality,

  • Noelle Nieves Flynn, NCC Young Democratic Socialists
  • Adam Cardo, Emory Young Democratic Socialists
  • Natalie Midiri, Philadelphia Democratic Socialists of America -Moderator

1:45 PM: Lunch and Informal Sessions

  • Religion and Socialism
  • Writing for Socialism

2:45 PM: What is Democratic Socialism: Bernie and Beyond? (Plenary)

  • Neal Meyer, Jacobin Magazine and former Young Democratic Socialists National Organizer
  • Jared Abbott, Boston Democratic Socialists of America
  • Jack Suria Linares, Co-Chair Young Democratic Socialists
  • Michele Rossi, Philadelphia Democratic Socialists of America -Moderator


4:30 PM: Workshop Block #2 - Skills

Coalition Work and Solidarity
  • David Duhalde, Deputy Director, Democratic Socialists of America
  • Alberto Aguilar, University of Texas-El Paso Young Democratic Socialists
  • Ethan Young
Continuing Sanders' Political Revolution
  • Liz Henderson, Co-Chair, We Need Bernie; Democratic Socialists of America -Moderator/Presenter
  • Adam Goldman, Philadelphia Democratic Socialists of America
  • Natalie Midiri, Philadelphia Democratic Socialists of America
Starting a YDS chapter
  • Sean Monahan, Brown University Young Democratic Socialists
  • David Littman, University of Georgia Young Democratic Socialists
  • Shelby Murphy, Co-Chair Young Democratic Socialists 

5:30 PM: Young Democratic Socialists in Action!

8 PM to Midnight: Party in Brooklyn

(Directions will be made available closer to the event)


Sunday, February 14, 2016

9:30 AM: Registration

10:30 AM: The Rise of the Right-Wing & the Role of the Left in the United States (Plenary)

  • Joseph Schwartz, Philadelphia Democratic Socialists of America
  • Sarah Leonard, The Nation
  • Chris Maisano, New York City Democratic Socialists of America -Moderator

12:15 PM: Brunch

1:30 PM: Workshop Block #3 - Education 

Non-Eurocentric Theory
  • Shelby Murphy, Co-Chair Young Democratic Socialists and Lamar University Young Democratic Socialists
  • Kazembe Balagun, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung
  • Jack Suria-Linares, Co-Chair Young Democratic Socialists -Moderator
Alternative Labor Organizing
  • Chris Maisano, New York City Democratic Socialists of America 
  • Sarah Jaffe, The Nation Institute
  • Neal Meyer, Jacobin Magazine and former Young Democratic Socialists National Organizer -Moderator

Climate Change and Capitalism

  • Paul Garver, Boston Democratic Socialists of America
  • Aurash Khawarzad, We Act for Environmental Justice
2:45 Goodbyes!

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)