Democratic Left

YDS Winter Conference 2014

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Throughout modern history, young people have kindled the flames of social movements across the world. In the last century, students initiated successful fights against Jim Crow and the Vietnam war, and the more recent struggles against neoliberal austerity in Greece, Quebec, and Wall Street have had an undeniably youthful energy. In 2014, the leftward trajectory of  youth in the United States  is visible in the increasing membership and participation of students in the Young Democratic Socialists (YDS).


This President’s Day weekend, over 100 young activists from across the country converged in New York for the annual YDS winter conference: Beyond Capitalism: Activism and Ideas for the Next Left. The conference offered plenaries, presentations and workshops to strengthen both the analytical and strategic acumen of YDS members, while also providing a welcoming environment to facilitate social networking among activists on a national scale.

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Bernie Sanders: ‘I Am Prepared to Run for President of the United States’

John Nichols talks to Senator Bernie Sanders

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Bernie Sanders says he is “prepared to run for president of the United States.” That’s not a formal announcement. A lot can change between now and 2016, and the populist senator from Vermont bristles at the whole notion of a permanent campaign. But Sanders has begun talking with savvy progressive political strategists, traveling to unexpected locations such as Alabama and entertaining the process questions that this most issue-focused member of the Senate has traditionally avoided.

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Justice for Cecily McMillan

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The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) condemns the prosecution of DSA member Cecily McMillan for a class D felony allegedly committed during an Occupy Wall Street demonstration on March 17, 2012, in Zuccotti Park, New York, NY. DSA calls for all charges to be dropped against Ms. McMillan.

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The Working Class Legacy and Origins of International Women’s Day

By Alicia Williamson

image001.jpgMarch 8 is International Women’s Day (IWD), an annual tradition that began over a hundred years ago. While celebrations continue worldwide, few people remember that the holiday was first initiated by American Socialists. As legend would have it, they were inspired to hold a demonstration in order to mark the anniversary of an 1857 female garment workers’ strike in New York. However, the more accurate account is that in 1908, the Socialist Party of America established a National Woman’s Committee to aid in the party’s recruitment efforts, and the committee’s first action was to declare the last Sunday in February to be Woman’s Day.

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Immigrant Women's Lives

By Christine Riddiough

On March 8, we celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) – a holiday that originated in the United States and was later codified by the Socialist International in 1914. IWD reminds us that the struggle for women’s rights and liberation is an international struggle. This year on IWD we should remind ourselves of the role played by immigrant women in the U.S. These women, our ancestors, came seeking a better life. They got jobs as maids and nannies, in factories and on farms. Too often, they were disdained by the immigrants who had preceded them. The same is all too true today.

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“Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?”: a Review

by Dan Hamilton
Chomsky.jpgDirector Michel Gondry’s latest work, which is a film-length interview with linguist, philosopher and activist Noam Chomsky, falls into the category of films that take high-profile thinkers as their subjects and aim to use the medium of film to convey a set of ideas. These films have been reviewed to a wide range of reactions, including everything from praise to apathy.


Gondry, previously known for “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “The Science of Sleep,” begins “Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?” in the style of German playwright Bertolt Brecht, by showing his cards immediately. Brecht’s style as a playwright, part of his “Epic Theater,” sought to constantly remind the audience that they were not viewing reality, but rather the projection of a particular mind expressed through a story. In this fashion, Gondry reminds the audience at the outset that he is a filmmaker and what the viewer is about to see is a product of his vision, editing, selection and projection. He explains why he is making the film and that the viewer should understand they are subject to what he calls the “manipulative” nature of film making and viewing.

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Never Forget: Why Black History Month Remains Important

by Lawrence Ware

Celebrate-Black-History-Mon.jpgLyndon B. Johnson enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in July of that year. This legislation prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It has been 50 years since this act became law, and racial progress is undeniable.

Overt acts of racism are now met with moral indignation and social alienation. Those who fought for civil rights are considered modern-day saints, and those who actively opposed racial progress are viewed as ignorant at best. Considering how much lip service is given to the notion of a post-racial America, you would think we’ve gotten this race all figured out.

You would be wrong. Dead wrong.

Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Renisha McBride [three unarmed young black people killed by whites—Editor] are but reminders of how much work remains to be done. They show us that stereotypes are not only lamentable—they are deadly.

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Tasks for Radicals: Revive Our Tradition -- Tom Hayden Speaking at the 2013 DSA National Convention

“It’s quite often that the radicals, including the socialists, do the organizing work and do the consciousness-raising to get the project to the table, to the mainstream, and then are ambivalent or disappointed about the results of their own work, as if they could have done more. . . . When you go from the margins to the mainstream, you get caught in the muck of the middle. And you fight the fight as far as you can go, until you achieve all you can achieve. You leave nobody on the battlefield, but you use up all the energy at your disposal, knowing that the final phase will be memory, looking back to see what was achieved and what can be built upon. . . .

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