Democratic Socialists Set Up Shop On Campuses Nationwide

Authored by Grace Gottschling via Campus Reform,

The Young Democratic Socialists of America organization now claims to have more than 250 chapters on campuses across the country, a dramatic increase from just 15 chapters in 2016.

YDSA is the student-focused branch of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) which is “a political and activist organization” that seeks to “empower working people” and has several ongoing campaigns, including Medicare for AllStrong Unions, and Electoral Power.

The YDSA mission is to “build the power of students, campus communities, and youth to fight for equality, justice, and democratic socialism,” according to its constitution, which was last updated in August 2017.+

In June 2017, YDSA launched a “Fall Campus Drive” with the goal of registering 100 new chapters by the fall semester, noting that it had already expanded from just 15 chapters to 50 chapters in 27 states over the preceding year.

“When we originally launched the YDSA fall campus drive, we set the bold target of 100 campuses across the country,” the recognized chapter list states. “Currently, we've received over 250 campuses register for the fall drive! This explosion in interest shows that this semester will be the biggest ever for YDSA. We will be able to build a mass movement for democratic socialism and justice at campuses across the country.”

While YDSA states that more than 250 chapters are now registered, the list includes only 218 groups, 27 of which are high school chapters.

Democratic Socialist students will be convening in Minneapolis this August for YDSA’s 2018 Summer Convention, which will focus on “key decisions” for the academic year, electing new NCC members, and holding “skills trainings” where student attendees will be able to “learn from other young socialists in order to hit the ground running” during the school year.

Past summer conventions have included “Anti-Oppression Caucuses & Ally Groups” where students can share “experiences and strategies for combating oppression” and workshops on topics including “socialist feminism, history of the Labor Movement, Ecosocialism, Democratic Socialism, Social Media Strategies, and more.”

Membership in YDSA is open to any full- or part-time student (including high school students), campus workers, and “youth who accept the aims, constitution, resolutions, and the decisions of the organization,” though the organization’s constitution notes that nobody over 30 years of age may hold elective office in the organization. 

Each chapter must have a minimum of three members to qualify for official recognition, and three or more chapters can combine to form a city-wide organization (if they have 15 or more members between them) or a State Council (if they have at least 25 members total).

Notably, the constitution also stipulates specific gender- and race-based leadership quotas for the National Coordinating Committee (NCC), which oversees YDSA between annual conferences, mandating that at least half of the committee’s members must be “self-identified women or gender non-binary people,” and that at least half must also be “people of color.”

If those quotas are not met for any reason, the NCC is required to recruit additional at-large members until it achieves the required degree of diversity.

DSA supplies the YDSA chapters with materials and initiatives to support the democratic socialist movement, including an “Organizing Manual” that contains detailed instructions on “How to Support a Union Organizing Drive or Strike on Your Campus” and “Weaving Democratic Socialism Into Your Work.”

“In the case of an organizing drive or a strike, community pressure on the university is an important element in the campaign,” the handbook states. “Call to the university’s avowed commitment to freedom of debate if the administrators refuse to allow union organizers or activists equal time to compensate for anti-union activists. You may also want to flood the campus newspapers with letters to the editor in support of the union.”

The manual gives individual chapters relatively wide latitude to select their own campaigns, noting that “there are plenty of struggles that YDSA supports, such as defending affirmative action, increasing access to reproductive and sexual healthcare, including abortion, for all, ending U.S. imperialist conquest abroad, shifting away from our reliance on dirty and unhealthy energy sources, and ending environmental racism, and redirecting our collective tax dollars to benefit all of us through quality public services.”

Students at campuses with active YDSA chapters, though, say the organization is better at disrupting conservative speech than advancing its own policy agenda.

“Members of YDS at [George Washington University] are not interested in genuine activism or attempting to talk to others who disagree with them,” asserted Campus Reform Correspondent Abigail Marone. “Instead, they're content with causing a scene without a clear message.”

“I think the group’s inability to have a cohesive message on my campus is a great representation of the democratic socialist movement’s inability to have a clear, cohesive message,” Marone added. “Candidates like Ocasio-Cortez want to get involved in as much left-wing activity as possible without even having a clear message of what they stand for or an understanding of basic policy.”

Campus Reform Correspondent Daniel Weldon, meanwhile, offered a more harrowing account of YDSA’s activities at the University of Florida.

“At the University of Florida, socialism has been growing at a staggering rate,” Weldon said. “Recently, I spoke with an elected official who will not use the word ‘capitalism’ on campus since it has become such a dirty word. In my three years on campus, groups like Young Democratic Socialists of America have ballooned in size and scope.”

“I’ve witnessed them tear down signs for conservative events I’ve hosted, attempted to shut down a Dinesh D’Souza Speech which required a police presence, and even assault a conservative student,” Weldon added. “At Florida, YDSA has pushed for the abolition of ICE, government controlled healthcare, and making UF a sanctuary campus.”

Campus Reform reached out to YDSA for comment, but has not received a response.


Skateboarder nmewn Wed, 08/01/2018 - 19:36 Permalink

I was curious about this, and zoomed into see if it did correspond directly. They are outside the campuses but not that far off, i.e. UC Davis' dot is in Fairfield, and University of Santa Clara's is just outside of the campus. That means these are offices created for the sole purpose of recruiting college kids to be their brainwashed lackeys!

In reply to by nmewn

philipat Joe Davola Wed, 08/01/2018 - 20:46 Permalink

Sad but I think understandable. This generation have never known real capitalism as all we have now is fake news, fake statistics, manipulation of every "market" and crony capitalism. If people can't survive, they turn to socialism and, when that doesn't work (it won't) comes revolution. Better to just skip the socialism step?

In reply to by Joe Davola

drstrangelove73 philipat Wed, 08/01/2018 - 21:58 Permalink

In 1969,I was a freshman at theUniversity ofMississippi,and there were marxists on campus then.They were high school atheists,who looked forward,eagerly,to the next issue of Ramparts,and fantasized about being under FBI surveillance.They voted for McCarthy,then got mugged by reality as the draft ended,and they had to go to work,where they discovered,when they got their first pay check,that the socialism they were yearning for was already here.I feel like I’ve seen this movie before...I hope I’m not wrong.

In reply to by philipat

Tarzan drstrangelove73 Thu, 08/02/2018 - 06:50 Permalink

Your not wrong.  They've been harboring with the Democrats all along.

These kids are a special kind of ignorant, but they are a sign of the problem with our political system.  The two party system is not diverse enough to represent all the people, and not being represented in DC, completely ignoring the will of the people actually, is the problem.

I hope both parties break up and Independents find a way to be relevant in DC.

In reply to by drstrangelove73

GoHillary2016 Free This Thu, 08/02/2018 - 08:41 Permalink

Stupid never stay dead. I knew going out and getting a life was too much for you. Looks like you will be fighting your civil war  right here on ?ZH in the comment section. You are making a real difference, no really you are.....hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah.hahahahahahahahah

In reply to by Free This

ssnova Zorba's idea Wed, 08/01/2018 - 20:05 Permalink

All state sponsored Universities that take federal money, all private institutions that take large donations with secret societal/deepstate connections, all private institutions founded with and by secret societies.  "Religious" institutions that needed more funding to keep running and took money from some deep state connected person or entity.

That covers about 98% of academia/higher education.  I say 2% with reasonable doubt, maybe there's some unknown and underfunded institution out there barely making it by with incompetent staff that no one would want to go to... but at least their primary purpose isn't to indoctrinate the youth.

In addition, virtually all major University staff are hardcore Liberal-socialists(quasi-commie) too-- I knew one professor who was an open conservative and he would say how persecuted he felt and how hostile the environment was when he was around "peers".  Most of the staff just drank the koolaid and were brainwashed(while lacking any real critical thinking skills or real world working experience)and programmed to create more of themselves(indoctrinating the students, creating more Liberals out of the young malleable minds).. though some staff were perhaps planted with "deeper" roots, rather than just koolaid drinkers.

In reply to by Zorba's idea

Alananda Skateboarder Wed, 08/01/2018 - 19:07 Permalink

No "money" (fiat currency) to spare; dead asleep at the wheel, drugged, drunk; too bu$y trying to support self and family; distracted up the WAZOO by HorrorWorld, M$M, and what passes for "entertainment"; too far out of the inner circle to get funds to create mayhem where peace prevailed; COME ON, a million and one reasons WHY Cognitive Dissonance and others of his ilk now BLAME THE VICTIM.  Just like (((ones we cannot mention))) do!

In reply to by Skateboarder

withglee Skateboarder Wed, 08/01/2018 - 19:20 Permalink

How come none of my peers did this shit 10 years ago?

They did. They've been doing it continuously my whole life (74 years) and before. I say let's have iterative secession. Let them have it their way in their space ... and not be in mine.

I have to keep asking, if they want to be empowered, what's stopping them from starting a factory ... and empowering themselves?

In reply to by Skateboarder

Meat Bunny withglee Thu, 08/02/2018 - 00:20 Permalink

I have to keep asking, if they want to be empowered, what's stopping them from starting a factory ... and empowering themselves?

This kind of person doesn't START a factory. This kind of person expects somebody else to GIVE THEM a factory. Once they control the means of production, then they'll really change things for the better. At least, until the bills start coming due.

In reply to by withglee

JBL Billy the Poet Wed, 08/01/2018 - 20:08 Permalink

b/c democracy baby xD

thats the main reason why the MSM built it up to heavenly heights in the first place

the word "democracy" aint even in the constitution or bill o rights or articles of confederation, but hey! 51% of dum dums voted for something they heard on MSM so therefore it must be so. dumb down the population, make em as financially illiterate as possible & get em to vote in the stupidest most incompetent re distributive socialists into all lvls of gov.


as aristotle said: democracy is the stage just prior to oligarchy

bet u when these socialist programs are doled out, there will be fraud aplenty. people who dont even exist will apply for welfare and free shlt just like the billions in government money at Housing & Urban Development (HUD) were used to finance real estate projects that didnt even exist! maybe universal basic income will be needed to calm the populace one day, i betcha some well connect wall st banks will be the primary issuer of those credit cards


"we're a democracy!" ....said a debt slave living in a country which used to be a constitutional republic

In reply to by Billy the Poet

withglee Kurpak Wed, 08/01/2018 - 19:23 Permalink

At no time do I remember signing my name to a social contract, socialism can fuck off.

You didn't sign your name to the USA contract either. What reaction did you get when you told them (the occupiers of the USA government ... witness the mysterious WTC7 collapse) to phuch off?

In reply to by Kurpak

ted41776 SilverRhino Wed, 08/01/2018 - 18:37 Permalink

guessing they still feel like they're not too late to the party and there's still other people's money left to take. they'll have to get in line behind all the banks, politicians, insurance companies, unions, license boards, and all the other parasites that have been sucking this country dry for decades. by the time it's their turn, there won't be anything left but a lifeless dried out corpse. at that point, they'll do what they have always done and just eat each other instead

In reply to by SilverRhino

withglee ted41776 Wed, 08/01/2018 - 19:27 Permalink

guessing they still feel like they're not too late to the party and there's still other people's money left to take. they'll have to get in line behind all the banks, politicians, insurance companies, unions, license boards, and all the other parasites that have been sucking this country dry for decades

Very few people that age are not socialists. It's not just in this time. It has been the case over a very very long time ... many generations. And in time they will claim to have become conservatives (whatever that is) and chastise what they once were (and as they should).

In reply to by ted41776