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Socialism means the democratization of all of society in order to end oppression, exploitation, and domination. We fight for a world without classes. The working class is the only social force capable of carrying out this fight and ultimately creating a more free, equal, and democratic society. The working class means everyone who is forced to sell their labor, people who work for a wage or a salary and the people who depend on them — children, the elderly, the poor, the sick, the jobless, the homeless, the incarcerated — regardless of borders or citizenship.
As socialists who are students, we fight for this new world by
Working to build a fighting, democratic labor movement capable of shifting power from the capitalist to the working class.
The working class is the only class in society with the structural power and material interest to bring about a transition to socialism. This is why the labor movement must be central to our struggles.
The legacies of McCarthyism and decades of neoliberalism have separated the labor movement from the socialist movement, a development that has fatally weakened labor militancy and rendered the left marginal and powerless. One of the most urgent tasks that socialists face today, therefore, is to rebuild the labor movement and restore its links to the socialist left.
Fighting for transformative reforms such as College for All, Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and other demands that empower the working class, bring key sectors of the economy under social control, and counter austerity.
As a campus-based socialist organization, we have a key role to play in the fight for education as a public good that is freely available to all.
We demand full funding for public education at every level, from pre-K to graduate school. We work to build workplace power for teachers, school and campus workers, student-workers, and instructors. We demand the cancellation of all student debt, making all higher education public and tuition-free, and democratizing all universities.
Our support for transformational reforms, such as College for All, Medicare for All, and a Green New Deal, is directly related to our orientation towards building working-class power. These reforms would not only bring material improvements to the lives of working-class people; they would also serve to break the power that employers hold over workers, empowering us to fight for even more transformative changes that could eventually undermine the very foundations of capitalism.
At the same time that we recognize the urgent need for reforms to shift power to the working class, we also recognize the limitations of reforms that leave the basic structures of the capitalist system intact, which is why we are fighting for a socialist transformation rather than simply a reformed version of capitalism.
Centering struggles against racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and all other forms of oppression.
The working class is multiracial, multigendered, and international. Therefore, we cannot build a united working-class movement without fighting back against all the specific forms of oppression that the capitalist class uses to divide us.
This includes fighting for an abolitionist vision, through campaigns to defund the police, removing police from schools, providing safe housing for all, and investing in social programs.
An intersectional analysis recognizing the intersecting dynamics of class and race is essential to our work.
YDSA is a fundamentally feminist, antifascist, antiracist organization committed to social justice and liberation.
Working to build up independent working-class politics and organization.
We can’t rely on the Democratic Party to support the kinds of transformative reforms that will actually shift power from the capitalist class to the working class.
Instead, we will need to work towards building a mass, independent working-class party. In order to lay the groundwork for such a party, we will need to build up a much higher level of class struggle and organization in our society.
We can work towards this goal through a three-pronged strategy of running socialist candidates for office, organizing within the labor movement, and strengthening DSA so that it can serve as the nucleus of a working-class party. Building YDSA chapters through strong campaigns, political education, and democratic debate can serve as one step towards the creation of this independent working-class political organization.
Ultimately, the only way we can address the permanent crises created by capitalism is to build the mass working-class power needed to fundamentally transform our society—to replace a destructive system based on the relentless pursuit of profit with a democratic system centered around human needs. This is a struggle that must be brought to campuses and workplaces across the country and across the world if we are to achieve victory.”
Creating just campuses and communities.
We are fighting campus capitalism, which reinforces hierarchy and punishes working-class students. They try to put a price tag on everything, and raise fees whenever they can. Too many schools care more about rankings than their students and teachers, protecting students’ mental health is key.
Get cops off campuses and officers out of schools. We fight racism on campus, directly and institutionally, every step of the way.
Disability rights means accessible campuses, which are livable by neurodivergent, and physically disabled students.
Accessible free and healthy food, no one on campus should be hungry or food insecure. Cancel all school lunch debt.
We work for tenant organizing in our dorms for our collective power. Housing is a human right and it certainly shouldn’t put you in debt. No more housing insecurity in our schools.
Green campuses are a necessity, with student gardens, renewable power, free public transportation, and sustainable architecture and technology.
We want more democratic student and worker control over schools, instead of administrators and donors. Solidarity is essential, between students, staff, and faculty.