YDS at the People's Summit

by Meghan Brophy

From June 17-19, 3,000 activists from coast to coast gathered in Chicago at The People’s Summit to discuss building and strengthening progressive movements.  According to the organizers, “From the speakers’ podiums to discussion tables and workshops to trainings on everything from building independent politics to the digital political revolution to how to carry out civil disobedience, it was evident there was overwhelming unity of vision and a common commitment to solidarity in creating change.”

As one of the main sponsoring organizations, Democratic Socialists of America had a strong presence with over 100 members participating throughout the weekend.  Most notably, Young Democratic Socialists were visible and at the forefront of several key discussions.  For example, YDS collaborated with United Students Against Sweatshops, the United States Student Association, and Student Action to host the “Raising Hell on Campus” workshop.  Within this workshop, YDS-CC Co-Chair Shelby Murphy led a discussion on retaining the momentum from the Sanders’ campaign to organize on our campuses.  Other workshops and panels, with visible attendance and participation by DSA and YDS members, dealt with such broad topics as the Robin Hood tax, running for office, healthcare justice, digital campaigning, direct action, democratic socialism, and political art.

YDS members were also visible and participatory during many of the DSA-specific events at the summit. YDS-CC Co-Chair Jack Suria Linares led a discussion on socialist organizing towards anti-racist causes as part of a panel discussion with DSA National Political Committee member and Vice-Chair Joseph Schwartz. Additionally, many YDS members helped staff the DSA information table and the main People’s Summit help and assistance desk.

During one of the main plenaries, many DSA and YDS members served as small group facilitators for table discussions.  These conversations raised an array of important organizational, strategic, and political ideas on the next steps forward for political revolution.  Speakers such as National Nurses United Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro, Nation journalist John Nichols, Cook County Commissioner Chuy Garcia, former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, and several dedicated organizers representing different organizations and campaigns were incredibly inspiring and raised important ideas for discussion.  Likewise, regional breakout groups provided an important space to network with other organizers in our communities and on our campuses.

Since the overarching idea of The People’s Summit was to prepare to build transformative movements, we bought up the upcoming Young Democratic Socialists/College Students for Bernie conference “From Sanders to the Grassroots: Continuing the Political Revolution Among the Student Left” both at the DSA table and in student-oriented workshops.  With students today more open to democratic socialism than the youth of any past generation, these two groups are collaborating to best consolidate and direct progressive energy growing on campuses.  The response from other People’s Summit attendees was overwhelmingly positive.  

As a whole, the United States is undergoing an incredible period of change and development of political consciousness.  From Occupy Wall Street to the Fight for 15 to Black Lives Matter to the tremendous outpouring of support for Bernie Sanders, there is a growing potential to build a bold mass socialist movement.  The visible presence of members of Young Democratic Socialists both at The People’s Summit and throughout the Sanders movement is indicative of a growing desire of youth to fight back against the billionaire class.


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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)