Young Democratic Socialists of America conference: Propping up the Democratic Party
3 March 2018
On February 17 and 18, the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) held their annual national convention in Washington D.C., under the headline, “Building Socialist Power Beyond the Campus.” Just over 350 young people attended the conference, several times higher than in previous years.
The DSA has grown more than six-fold since the election of Donald Trump, from 5,000 to over 32,000 members, many of them young people. There is a growing interest amongst workers and youth in socialism. As was evident at the conference, the aim of the DSA is to turn young people interested in socialism into foot-soldiers for the Democrats or organizers for the anti-working class trade unions.
The first plenary session, “Democratic Socialism’s Strategy for Trump’s Second Year,” set the tone for the rest of the conference. This panel featured Amirah Sequeira, a lobbyist for the trade union National Nurses United; Jacquelyn Smith, former election campaign manager to Lee Carter, a Democratic member of the Virginia House of Delegates; and Bianca Cunningham, a low-level official in the Communication Workers of America (CWA), who worked on the bargaining team of the sellout of the 2016 Verizon workers’ strike.
Sequeira gave the first report, consisting of a call-to-action around Bernie Sanders’ Medicare For All bill. “We need to build a serious grassroots movement across this country, and we hope that you will be a part of it,” she announced. “There are going to be state campaigns for Medicare For All bills in states across this country. We are going to work to pass H.R.676 [Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act], formally introduced by Representative…