Meet the Candidates
The 2021 YDSA Convention will be held online from Friday, June 25 to Sunday, June 27. For more information, please check the official YDSA convention website.
A democratic socialist nearly won the Democratic presidential primary last year, earning the enthusiasm of students and workers everywhere. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic crashed into our privatized healthcare system and millions were laid off in its wake. Shortly after, massive and militant protests against police violence broke out in every state in the country. Donald Trump was defeated in November; however, the new Biden administration has done little more to stave off the spread of COVID, as the pandemic has continued to ravage working-class communities. Police continue to brutalize working-class communities, especially Black and Latinx communities, murdering adults and children alike. Even as more and more people in the U.S. receive vaccines, the U.S. ruling class has condemned billions of people in the Global South to languish from lack of access to vaccines. ‘Back to normal’ for the US is still a neoliberal hellscape where millions of people lack basic rights like healthcare, housing, and education, where we are on a collision course for climate catastrophe, and where working-class people are denied any control over their own conditions of life and work.
Since Bernie Sanders’s 2016 campaign, DSA and YDSA have grown rapidly, bringing people all around the country together in the fight for socialism. We now have a ninety-two-thousand-member socialist organization and only keep growing. In YDSA, we have built a mass student-socialist organization through campaigns like College for All, YDSA for Bernie, the Student and Workers’ Relief campaign, and our campaign to Cancel All Student Debt. We’ve also created a thriving publication, The Activist, political education curricula and programs, and a rank-and-file pipeline to educate and support student socialists in our efforts to rebuild the labor movement from the bottom up. YDSA now has over 130 chapters, all engaging in struggle from the local to national level and educating and training lifelong socialist organizers.
YDSA should be the organization that students and young people look to and join to make sense of our moment and learn how to organize for a truly democratic society. And YDSA should be a launchpad for young socialists, preparing them to organize in DSA long after they finish school.
But every year, some members of YDSA graduate. This high turnover demands more organizing support from national leadership and a shared strategy about how students can contribute to the class struggle. As Marxists, we believe that although students have an important role to play, only the working class can build socialism. Students as a group are transient and heterogenous, but the working class is an absolute majority and can fatally disrupt profit-making. While the majority of YDSA members are individually working-class, we are not representative of the working class’s diversity and we remain largely separate from the labor movement.
YDSA must work to elevate class consciousness on and around campuses, and bring students into struggles that will provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary to organize after graduation. Over the past year, YDSA has begun to build the centralization, coordination, and organizational structure to recruit effectively, carry out widespread political education, and develop leaders, but we have far more to go, our main limitations being capacity and resources. The Summer 2021 Convention is an opportunity to think seriously about how we can expand on these goals: We can decide on a path for YDSA that meets our political moment and, in the long-term, sets us on track to grow and cohere into the youth wing of a mass socialist workers’ party.
Above all, YDSA’s mission must be to make, train, and keep young socialists. To that end, Bread and Roses members in YDSA are putting forward our vision for YDSA through the following resolutions and a slate of socialist organizers who are dedicated to building YDSA and growing and strengthening the socialist movement as a whole.