This introduction to The Activist and letter from the editors was prepared for the Winter 2021 print issue of The Activist.
The Activist is a publication by and for volunteer organizers in the Young Democratic Socialists of America, edited by members of YDSA’s National Political Education Committee, and featuring the writing of YDSA activists from chapters across the country. Early editors and writers included Jacobin founder Bhaskar Sunkara, Jacobin contributor and former NPC member Chris Maisano, former DSA Deputy Director David Duhalde, and 2019-20 executive editor Halsey Hazzard.
The original Activist ran its last issue in Fall 2017. The 2019 summer convention revived the publication, based on the idea that “there exists within YDSA an acute need for a unifying, engaging, and thoughtful publication of the socialist youth perspective, particularly from the most marginalized in the United States; for political dialogue and theoretical development within YDSA on topics including organizational culture, tactics, and strategy, which is guided by the real experiences of organizers on the ground; and for a means to develop a shared community an camaraderie by promoting and institutionalizing respectful and rigorous political debate as an integral function of YDSA.”
Front cover by Fatima Larios (UCLA)
Design by Lex Von Klark (UCLA)
A publication of the Young Democratic Socialists of America National Political Education Committee
Letter from the Editors
The year 2020 will forever live on in our collective memory. As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe, Black Lives Matter took to the streets to protest police brutality following the tragic murder of George Floyd. Senator Bernie Sanders organized socialists around the country — and, indeed, the world — behind another impressive presidential campaign. And that election culminated in the fall of a reactionary tyrant whose political demise was celebrated both at home and abroad.
The cover and contents of this issue of The Activist reflect these historic events, and more. We have gathered a wide variety of articles ranging from reflections on chapter work to philosophical arguments. Not everything submitted to The Activist made the final cut, and that meant making a lot of tough choices. So we hope that you, the reader, are pleased with our selections.
But, if you think something is missing, fear not. The Activist is, and will always be, a collaborative effort. We want everyone in YDSA to feel empowered to send us content and share their feedback. Only through this process can The Activist grow and improve as a publication. Never hesitate to email us at [email protected] with any questions, comments, concerns, and especially submissions.
The socialist Left is ascendant, and us young people are the ones leading the charge. As we continue to fight for socialism, it is important that we have a space where we can strategize, debate, and strengthen our skills as political communicators. The Activist hopes to be that space. Thank you so much for your support.
YDSA is your organization, and The Activist is yours too.
The Activist Editorial Board is a subcommittee of the YDSA National Political Education Committee, composed of volunteers from YDSA chapters across the country.
It currently includes:
Griffin Mahon (UVa), Executive editor
Elias Khoury (UMich), Managing editor
Taylor-Raye Council (ODU)
Andrew Pfannkuche (Illinois State University)
Finn Cooley (TCU)
Ruy Martinez (Harvard)