The authors of R10 “Integrating YDSA into the International Committee” recap what the Youth Leadership Committee of the IC has done this past year.
At the 2021 convention, comrades organized to write and pass R6. Committing to International Solidarity with Student and Youth Socialists in hopes of forming a student and youth subcommittee within and accountable to the newly reformed International Committee (IC), which had recently opened applications to DSA membership. During convention, an amendment to the resolution which would limit YDSA to a single International Officer loosely connected to the IC was withdrawn so debate was limited. The unamended resolution passed quickly without any speakers in opposition. After convention, liaisons were recruited in the same calls for other national committee members. That initial recruitment had James E-T as the point NCC member and Gabriel McAdams, Andrew Basta, and Adam Ireneo Ascione as general members. These initial members formulated a concrete way to create what was called for in the resolution, a student and youth subcommittee within the International Committee that was open to YDSA members. We envisioned that this new subcommittee would be in conversation with all of the existing IC subcommittees and add to existing IC projects that related to student and youth issues. The initial members took this proposed structure to the IC to receive feedback.
Away From Subcommittee Model
Immediately, discussions with the IC showed that this proposed structure would create too many conflicts for the IC and the proposed subcommittee. Resolving the issues of the proposed model required close consultation with members of the IC steering committee and the NCC. Members of the IC leadership were concerned that the subcommittee would be recreating work that was being done by the already existing nine other subcommittees. They also brought it to the liasons’ attention that the student and youth subcommittee would not be the ones meeting the other youth parties and formations, as other subcommittees defer to the IC secertariat to facilitate meetings and delegations. This led the steering committee to recommend that instead of creating a new subcommittee with membership open to all of YDSA, we opt for a small leadership committee with a maximum of ten YDSA members to help connect YDSA and the International Committee, work with experts in the IC, and encourage YDSA engagement within IC subcommittees. The liaisons were initially concerned about no longer having a committee with open YDSA membership, but the IC steering committee explained that was a misconception; YDSA members are free to apply for positions on all subcommittees just like DSA members, because they are DSA members. With these clarifications, the liaisons felt that the recommendations were the best way to fulfill the intention of R6 while properly integrating into the IC’s structure, so they sent a proposal for this Youth Leadership Committee to the NCC for approval.
The proposal from the steering committee was sent for formal approval to the NCC, but months passed before the proposal received a vote. As observers of the process, it seemed as if the NCC would always run out of time at their weekly meetings. We were told some NCC members had concerns although liaisons were never keyed into what those concerns really were outside of a vague hesitance to work with the IC. Finally, after meeting with liaisons and addressing the concerns of the remaining NCC members, the NCC voted on the original Youth Leadership Committee proposal and approved it unanimously in March 2022. With this finally approved, the interim Youth Leadership Committee put out a call for membership and set goals of establishing a deeper understanding of IC policies and procedures, as well as further formalizing our existing YDSA relationships with various youth organizations and sections.
Holding Events and Building Relationships
With this goal set we first made a plan to recruit a few new members into the committee. Through emailing YDSA membership and announcing our newly approved committee at a monthly strategy call, we brought in a handful of leaders from chapters across the country to build international solidarity. With the interim committee established, we began meeting semi-regularly and also started joining meetings with the leadership of the IC. We quickly learned about how the IC prioritizes multi-tendency leadership, intentionally representing DSA’s big ideological tent, and sticks to campaigns and letters that follow our political platform that both DSA and YDSA adopted in our respective 2021 National Conventions.
We also worked to develop our relationship with international organizations including Ogra Sinn Fein of Ireland, UK Young Labour, The Australian Young Labour-Left, and the Youth PT of Brazil. We encourage comrades to read our full report here. Highlights of this work include a series of political education events with UK Young Labour and the Australian Young Labour-Left featuring committee member Sheen Kim, an open political discussion with leaders from Ogra Sinn Fein moderated by Andrew, and participation in the DSA delegation to Brazil with YDSA NCC member James E-T.
What’s to Come?
If R10 is passed at this convention, the Youth Leadership committee will not have to go back to the drawing board and can be institutionalized by YDSA, the NPC, and the IC steering committee. In the immediate future, we plan to utilize our existing relationship with members of PT’s youth section to host a political education event so that we can learn from the largest mass party in South America. We have so much to learn from comrades engaged in the struggle against U.S. imperialism and global capitalism, and we look forward to another year of YDSA internationalism.