YDS 2010 Winter Conference Report

Guest author: Alan Stowers

The 2010 winter Young Democratic Socialists (YDS) conference at Norman Thomas High School (a location aptly named after a prominent socialist from the early 20th century) in Manhattan, was a snap shot of the current socialist movement in the United States. Headlined by several of the most prolific and renowned social critics of our day, such as Cornel West, Gayatri Spivak, and Frances Fox Piven, to name a few, it is sure to have enriched the intellectual understanding of socialism for all in attendance. YDS chapters from William Paterson University in New Jersey and Temple University in Philadelphia were very strongly represented, in addition to members from as far away as Kansas, Michigan, and Las Vegas.

The three day conference provided a unique opportunity for student activists to meet comrades from around the country, trade stories, share experiences, and build the solidarity necessary to be resilient in the face of the overwhelming forces opposed to a true socialist agenda in America. The plenary with Cornel West provided a moving and insightful approach to reminding the audience why democratic socialism is something we must continue to fight for. As he said "indifference is the essence of inhumanity" and we must not fall victim to striving only for material success and becoming "well adjusted to injustice." The other plenaries also helped shape our general understanding of the state of democratic socialism from various perspectives. Gayatri Spivak delivered the final, and in my opinion most thought provoking plenary. She asks us to think internationally as we move forward, and presented the idea that while capital will always exist, and is not necessarily a bad thing, we must harness it with a "will to socialism."

The various workshops held throughout the conference helped supply attendees with advanced knowledge on particular topics thanks to the expertise of the panelists at the conference. In depth looks at issues such as the state of the labor movement, strategies for the Left, responding to Obama's wars, race and gender, and many others were offered. These panels offered background knowledge on the issues, up to date statistics, rhetorical points, and advice for those seeking to confront these problems. Armed with these intellectual tools, and a stronger sense of purpose and solidarity, the YDS members left the weekend conference to continue the struggle against capitalism.

Alan Stowers is a second year student at William Paterson University of New Jersey, studying psychology and philosophy.


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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)