These are reports for the past year from the National Coordinating Committee, National Labor Committee, National Political Education Committee, National Organizing Committee and International Committee. They were originally published in the Summer 2022 Print Issue of The Activist.
National Coordinating Committee, by Sarandon Elliot
This year with inflation, the war in Ukraine, the overturning of Roe v. Wade, attacks on LGBTQIA youth, climate change, and Covid-19, it has been more clear than ever that our battle is not Republican versus Democrat, but rather the working class versus the ruling class. We saw the formation of the Amazon Labor Union and over 150 Starbucks stores unionized. Students across the country from Wesleyan University to Kenyon College have run and delivered strong campus labor solidarity efforts. Schools like Florida Gulf Coast University have fought against harmful and dangerous anti-choice medical facilities on their campus. YDSA chapters at Howard University, University of Michigan, New York University, Oakland College, and countless others have fought against all our enemies: from university administrators to outright fascists. The organizing YDSA chapters have done shows the power of the multi-racial working class when we are disciplined, focused, and organized.
It was clear to the NCC that we wanted to take on projects which would help strengthen chapters at the local level. The NCC outlined tasks that we wanted to take on as a committee in order to complement and help chapter work this year, so we set goals around three priorities: growth, development, and chapter campaigns.
For the first time in two years, YDSA members gathered in person for YDSA Conference. Over 300 YDSA members from across the country attended workshops and panels on campaign planning, labor organizing, electoral organizing, and more. Since November, the NCC has hosted monthly strategy calls where we highlighted chapter work and held trainings on various organizing skills. This year for the first time in YDSA history we also passed a budget of over $15,000, which has allowed us to do things like give incentives to chapters and print handouts.
Also for the first time in YDSA history, we held a dues drive. The goal of the drive was to get YDSA members to start officially paying dues or switch to monthly dues. We want to grow the number of members in our organization so we are better equipped to take on bigger organizing projects at the local and national levels.
Finally, the NCC has passed several proposals that have been carried out by national committees. These proposals include the formation of the Red Hot Summer labor program, the campaign cohorts program, and an effort to support Southern and Midwest chapters in organizing for reproductive justice.
There is no doubt in my mind that the years to come will inevitably test the strength of our organization. You, me, our comrades, and our local and national bodies will have to face unprecedented trials and tribulations created by the ruling class. However, we can not take our eyes off of the prize. As members of the largest socialist organization in the country, it is our duty to help build a mass movement of the multi-racial working class. This past year, the National Coordinating Committee has had the honor to witness you all fighting and organizing for the socialist future we need. As we look forward to this Convention and to the coming years, we must hold our comrades and community close, for comrades and community is what will get us to the future we deserve.
National Labor Committee, by Willem Morris
Starting in the fall, the NLC coordinated presentations given to thousands of students at 50+ YDSA chapters about the importance of labor organizing at Amazon and UPS. NLC members partnered with UPS and Amazon workers to give these presentations and encourage YDSA members to support labor organizing within the logistics industry. In January, the NLC helped launch the YDSA Labor Cohort, a group that supported labor organizing efforts by YDSA chapters. The Labor Cohort provided guidance for chapters doing labor solidarity work, such as supporting labor efforts at Starbucks or by graduate unions, as well as coordinating undergraduate labor organizing efforts.
The NLC launched Red Hot Summer, a labor organizing program that has 750+ signups from young workers at 200+ different schools. At the launch call on June 7, YDSA union leaders promoted the program to an audience of 32,000+, alongside guest speakers Sara Nelson, Jaz Brisack, and Hasan Piker. In addition to providing training to organize a union, Red Hot Summer aims to provide young workers with an understanding of the role that unions can play in winning larger fights on the left. Next year, as YDSA chapters decide how to orient themselves following the decade of uprising, I encourage them to consider supporting campus labor organizing. Campus unions can provide working class students the leverage to immediately improve their working conditions and wages. But they can do so much more than that.
National Political Education Committee, by Sarandon Elliot
Political Education is vital to the socialist movement and must be centered in our organizing if we want to learn from our past to build a better future. A rigorous political education program helps new socialists become principled and strategic organizers as they examine theory, history, and organizing examples. This year, the NPEC focused on developing materials and training for new and existing chapters. This was done by adding additional material and resources to the YDSA Syllabus, which was created by the 2020-21 NPEC and features modules, podcasts, videos, articles, and more for political education. The NPEC also held a “How to Hold a Political Education Event” training with the purpose of teaching members the importance of political education and how to plan an event for a chapter, write political education questions, and train new members on best facilitation practices. Finally, the NPEC hosted a winter break reading group for We Do This ‘Til We Free Us by Mariame Kaba. Through the reading group, YDSA members discussed and learned about police abolition, transformative justice, and what it means to build communities of care.
National Organizing Committee, by Leena Yumeen
In the fall of 2021, the National Organizing Committee initially organized around a model of one- on-one support for chapter leaders. The committee sent out a support request form and connected chapter leaders with mentors from the NOC, who would meet with those chapter leaders monthly to support them. The Materials Subcommittee created “train-the-trainers” guides for NOC members around fundamental organizing skills like having one-on-one conversations, facilitating meetings, and doing listwork. The NOC also supported the NCC by adapting these materials for the workshops that occurred on the monthly strategy calls.
In the spring of 2022, the NOC launched the national strategic campaign cohort program in coordination with the NLC. The program included five different cohorts centered around the issues of labor, abolition, student services, tuition reduction, and endowment austerity. Cohorts were led by organizers who had direct experiences with each respective campaign. The cohorts also served as a tool to build coalitions with partner organizations conducting similar work, including Students for Justice in Palestine, the Cops off Campus Coalition, or even DSA’s Abolition Working Group.
This summer the NOC organized a mass call for southern and midwest chapters organizing around abortion with speakers from Nurses for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Florida Gulf Coast Univeristy YDSA, which ran a strong campaign for sexual health services on their campus over the past year. Now, the NOC is building a toolkit to help chapters plan campaigns around abortion access and reproductive justice for the upcoming year.
International Committee, by James E-T and Andrew Basta
The Youth Leadership committee of the DSA International Committee has sought to integrate YDSA into the International Committee. We organized a call with UK Young Labor and the Australian Young Labor Left in February in response to the AUKUS deal, a clear escalation on behalf of the US in the Cold War on China. We continued developing this relationship with another event in June focused on migration and refugee justice where a member of our committee spoke to the ongoing border violence inflicted by the United States, and presented a thoughtful overview of what refugee justice means. At our event with Ógra Sinn Féin, the youth section of Sinn Féin, on July 2., we continued to develop YDSA’s collective political analysis of Irish Republicanism, electoral strategy, and ultimately how we can expand the soicalist project rooting ourselves in working class communities.
The DSA delegation to Brazil, met with various members, leaders and elected officials of the Workers’ Party (PT), including former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The delegation also met with leaders in the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL), visited housing occupations organized by the “landless workers movement” (MTST & MST), heard directly from survivors of the military dictatorship, and met with leaders of the largest confederation of unions in Brazil (CUT).