Welcome to The Red Letter, a YDSA newsletter produced by The Activist editorial board!
The name The Red Letter comes from YDSA’s original internal newsletter during the first iteration of The Activist during the 2000s. As YDSA continues to grow to new membership heights, a newsletter like this can serve a critical function of connecting and informing our members about the most important organizing work being done by YDSA members.
So what’s going to be in The Red Letter?
- A roundup of articles in The Activist from the past month
- An update from the YDSA National Coordinating Committee on national work
- Highlights from notable work of individual chapters
- Pitches that you should write about for The Activist!
We hope to develop The Red Letter into a monthly staple that all YDSA members look forward to reading. If you are interested in contributing articles, chapter reports, or anything else to either The Activist or The Red Letter you can fill out this form to let us know! And check out our recently released full Spring 2023 print issue.
– The Activist Editorial Board
National Coordinating Committee Bulletin
Happy May Day comrades! For more than a century, workers across the world have come together on May 1st to commemorate the victories and remember the sacrifices of working people who have struggled for a better world. Whether you are marching in the streets, standing with workers on a picket line, or celebrating at a picnic or block party, we hope your May Day is filled with community, class struggle, and solidarity!
Two weeks ago, hundreds of Y/DSA members gathered at the Chicago Teachers Union Center for the Socialism is the Future conference. Throughout the weekend, YDSA members attended workshops, participated in political discussions about YDSA’s strategy, and shared their experiences with comrades from all over the country. You can find some more highlights from the weekend in this thread.
We encourage you to continue the struggle after the semester ends by signing up for Red Hot Summer. This year, 350,000 UPS Teamsters are ramping up to strike, and YDSA and DSA are continuing to organize workers, students, and community members in ways previously considered impossible. We can’t lose our momentum now! Best of luck on your finals, and we are so excited to see you again soon.
YDSA National Coordinating Committee
Across the country, YDSA members have done incredible work in the past month! At the University of Oregon a labor campaign started and led by YDSA members filed for recognition for a union of more than 3,000 student workers on campus! Texas YDSA won a pressure campaign to make it easier for students to access HRT on campus. Last, after major actions — including petitions with more than 1,000 student signatures each — NYU YDSA successfully pressured their administration to fully cover the cost of abortion services through the student health insurance plan, and Brown/RISD YDSA won free laundry for all students living on campus!
If your chapter has held a major event, won part or all of your demands, or has other work they want to share with National YDSA, be sure to fill out the YDSA Victories Reporting Form!
The Activist Roundup
Generation Z’s War Is The Class War
By: Taylor Clark
They say every generation has its trials — our generation was raised in the trenches of the New Gilded Age. Barely a year after I was born the World Trade Center was attacked, marking the beginning of the ‘forever wars’ that have been going on most of our lifetimes. Our generation’s time has been defined by rising inequality and rising temperatures — not to mention rampant gun violence and unchecked bigotry. Having been shaken awake from the ‘American Dream,’ the nightmare of American Capitalism has been one of the few constants of our lives.
But in 2021 and 2022, for the first time in a long time, working people are on the march — and the young have been leading the charge. In the service industry, long considered unassailable by organized labor and home to a business model practically built on hyper-exploiting young workers, the past year has seen the birth of Starbucks Workers United — a worker-led organizing campaign which has successfully unionized over 250 corporate-owned stores and which led over 100 of those stores on strike. In logistics, the lifeblood of globalized Capitalism, Amazon workers on Staten Island voted to unionize last April led by a group of young organizers. Last November, the University of California bore witness to the largest strike of academic workers in US History with the large majority of strikers being graduate students in their 20s. All these struggles have perhaps been as limited as they’ve been inspiring.
But, if we’re going to win the fight for racial justice, a democratic economy, and ultimately avert a global climate catastrophe, our generation will have to be the one that figures out how to organize and how to win.
YDSA Conference Made Me A Lifelong Socialist Organizer
By: Gerica Noerdinger
This year’s YDSA Conference was held in Chicago from April 14-16th and was combined with an activist conference for DSA electoral and labor organizers. While a national activist conference might be a good idea for DSA, it shouldn’t come at the cost of spots for YDSA members in crucial phases of their socialist development. Read here.
Reformers Demand Democracy in UAW
By: Alexandra Chan
The recent United Auto Workers internal elections were highly contested between the long entrenched Administration Caucus and the reform-minded Unite All Workers for Democracy caucus. The election resulted in a massive upset win for the reform caucus and for supporters of more democratic unions everywhere. Read here.
Remember the Legacy of International Workers’ Day
By: Zurie Pope
International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day, began because of events in the United States. Socialists should remember the sacrifices of those who came before us by celebrating May Day. Read here.
Write for The Activist!
Full-length articles should be 800-1200 words. Chapter reports should cover the activity of your YDSA chapter in the past few months in 100-300 words. Both types of submissions can be submitted via e-mail to [email protected] or via this form.
This month’s pitches:
- What does Conference mean to you?
- What makes your YDSA chapter unique?
- What is the other organizing like on your campus? Are you in a coalition or alone?
Coming Up This Month
Here is a quick overview of some of the most important calls and deadlines coming up this month. Be on the lookout for more information to come!
- YDSA Convention Deadlines
- May 1 – TODAY is the deadline to update your chapter’s membership list before delegate apportionment. Make sure your members are affiliated with your chapter.
- May 8 – Chapter leaders will receive their delegate apportionment
- May 15 – Primary submissions (resolutions and amendments to YDSA’s national constitution) close
- May 22 – First Convention bulletin published, secondary submissions (amendments to primary submissions) open
- Labor Resolution Discussion – Wednesday May 3 – 8pm ET/5pm PT
- Join the YDSA Labor Committee to debrief their work this year and discuss YDSA’s labor work and strategy for the next year!
- Graduate Call – Friday May 12 – 8pm ET/5pm PT
- Are you graduating this Spring? Join members of YDSA’s Mentorship Coordinating Committee to learn more about how you can stay involved with DSA after graduation.
- NCC Info Call – Monday May 15 – 8pm ET/5pm PT
- Learn more about what YDSA’s National Coordinating Committee does and the process of running to be a NCC member at YDSA’s summer convention!
- May Strategy Call – Sunday May 21 – 5pm ET/2pm PT
- Calling all chapter leaders! It’s time to make plans to keep your chapter engaged over the summer. Join members of the NCC for a discussion about YDSA organizing this summer.
That’s it for this month’s issue of the Red Letter. Be on the lookout for a new issue on the first Monday of every month. Happy May Day comrades!
“The emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves.” – Karl Marx