Unite, Fight, Win – 2020 YDSA Winter Conference Program

The following is a tentative schedule for the 2020 YDSA Winter Conference, February 14-16 in Chicago, IL. Please keep checking back for updates as the conference draws closer.

Friday, February 14

6:00 PM – Registration and Social

7:30 PM – Opening Plenary – Unite, Fight, Win!

  • Rossana Rodriguez, Chicago Alderman, Ward 33
  • Christine Dussault, Chicago Teachers Union Member
  • Lillian Osborne, Union Researcher, Carlos Rosa 2019 Field Director
  • David Range, Lindblom Math and Science Academy

Saturday, February 15

9:00 AM – Registration and Breakfast

10:30 AM – Plenary #1 – Organizing for a Green New Deal

  • Ashik Siddique, Metro DC DSA, Ecosocialist Working Group
  • Sean Estelle, Chicago DSA, Ecosocialist Working Group
  • Roberto Clack, Warehouse Workers for Justice
  • Arcadia Schmid, Facilitator, Loyola Chicago YDSA , YDSA Ecosocialism and Green New Deal Committee Chair

12:00 PM – Lunch

1:00 PMWorkshop block #1

  • Democratic Socialism 101: Socialism is gaining attention in mainstream media, but when everyone uses the word differently it’s hard to keep track of what “socialism” really is. This workshop will cover some of the basics of what democratic socialism is, what it means to be a part of DSA, and what it’s going to take to build a mass socialist organization.
  • Building Capacity and Developing Leaders: Good organizers do more than just lead, they help develop new and better organizers! This workshop will teach you how to map your membership, develop new leaders, and hold leadership conversations.
  • Get out the vote!  YDSA has a pivotal role to play in local, state, and presidential elections. This workshop will cover electoral strategies for securing working class power at every level of our country. You’ll leave ready to mobilize your campus for Bernie and other democratic socialist candidates.
  • Toolkit to win: Action Network, Spoke and Airtable: Did you know that officially recognized YDSA chapters have access to Action Network and Spoke? This workshop will teach you how to use these organizing tools, plus Airtable, to win campaigns on your campus.
  • Structured Organizing Conversations: The organizing conversation is the foundation of any winning organizing strategy. In this workshop you’ll learn how to have 1:1s that move, inspire, and develop new leaders for our movement.
  • Access and Success: Running a Meeting: What does running a meeting involve? And what does access have to do with it? Find out the answers to these questions, learn why this is an essential part of organizing, and develop skills for successfully running meetings.
  • Building a Multi-Racial Working Class Movement: Healthy and inclusive organizing spaces are essential to building a diverse working class movement. Join us in this workshop to learn more about how systems of oppression show up in organizing spaces and what steps you can take to combat them.

2:30 PM – Break

2:45 PM – Workshop block #2

  • Strategic Campaigns: Getting Student Debt Cancelled: It’s time to fight back against student debt. Attend this workshop to learn how to run a strategic campaign, identify a demand and target, and escalate tactics to turn the pressure up on those who want to keep us in debt.
  • YDSA in the News: Working with the Press: If a YDSA chapter wins a campaign in the middle of their campus and no one is around to hear it, did it really build power for the working class? This workshop will teach you about how to work with local press and how to get media coverage of your chapter’s events! Special guest Christopher Shay senior editor of The Nation
  • The Activist: Comprehensive Political Education: Why is political education important? How can we use political education programs to build class consciousness and increase our organizing capabilities? Learn all this and more from members of The Activist’s editorial board.
  • Build the Movement: Starting New Chapters on Neighboring Campuses: We can’t win the world we want if we don’t grow, and grow intentionally! This workshop is aimed at more experienced chapters and will cover strategies for launching new YDSA chapters on nearby campuses.
  • Grassroots Fundraising 101: Everybody knows YDSA chapters need money to get things done. This workshop will teach you the skills and strategies you need to fund your chapters’ work while also building your organizing capacity.
  • Organizing for International Solidarity: This workshop will cover the history of anti-imperialist praxis in the American student movement, what lessons can be learned from it, and how to apply these lessons in their own organizing work. Join us to discuss strategies your chapter can utilize to combat military recruitment on campuses and plan successful solidarity demonstrations.
  • Campus Labor 101: Students can play a major part in campus labor efforts and we want to show you how! In this workshop we will go over why the Working Class is central to any labor movement, what unions are and how they work, and how we as students can and have shown solidarity with our campus workers during their labor fights. 

4:30 PM –  Speaker – Phillip Agnew, Organizer, artist, and National Surrogate for Bernie 2020

5:00 PM – Closing

Sunday, February 16

9:00 AM – Breakfast

10:00 AM – Welcome and announcements

10:30 AM – Plenary #2 – Building the Movement for Bernie 2020 and Beyond

  • Phillip Agnew, Bernie 2020
  • Micah Uetricht, Chicago DSA, Co-Author, Bigger than Bernie, Jacobin Magazine
  • Kristen Cervero, New York University YDSA, National Coordinating Committee Co-Chair, YDSA for Bernie Committee Chair

12:00 PM – Lunch

1:00 PM – Speaker – Maria Svart, DSA National Director

1:30 PM – Workshop block #3 / Chicago DSA for Bernie Canvass

  • The most popular workshops from blocks #1 and #2 will repeat here.

3:00 PM – Closing