Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) have nearly quadrupled their presence on college campuses since the election of President Donald Trump.
In 2016, according to the organization, there were just 15 chapters across the country. But following Trump’s election, interest in the organization grew thanks to a 2017 “fall campus drive.” Students from more than 250 campuses signed up, but when the semester started, there were a total of 57 active chapters for the 2017-2018 school year, according to Lawrence Dreyfuss, program associate for YDSA’s parent group, Democratic Socialists of America. In an email to The Daily Wire, Dreyfuss said the organization didn’t know yet how many total chapters would exist in the coming school year.
YDSA’s constitution includes five “objectives”:
1. “To Build the Power of Students, Campus Communities, and Youth to Fight for Equality, Justice, and Democratic Socialism,”
2. “To Develop, Determine, and Promote the Policies and Positions of the YDSA,”
3. “To provide support and assistance to local organizations of YDSA, to assist and support the organization of new local and national organizations, and to facilitate cooperation between local organizations across the United States and internationally,”
4. “To promote Democratic Socialists of America among students, campus communities, and youth,” and,
5. “To educate and train YDSA members to prepare them for a lifetime of organizing in the service of a democratic socialist future.”
The group’s constitution further explains how the group fights for Democratic socialism:
We educate our fellow students on how capitalism is negatively impacting every social justice issue from immigration rights to free healthcare to stopping global warming, and to organize campaigns that will combat these threats to our right to a better world. We practice radical solidarity with other campus and community groups that are fighting for justice, equality and liberation, and push for a true democracy in our campuses and local communities that will serve as the ground for for [sic] a democratic socialist future.
Membership for the organization is open to college students (full-time and part-time) and high school students. No one over 30 is allowed to hold an elected office within the organization. Chapters must have at least three members for official recognition, and can combine to form larger councils.
Conservative students associated with Campus Reform say the group resorts to strong-arm tactics when protesting.
“I’ve witnessed them tear down signs for conservative events I’ve hosted, attempted to shut down a Dinesh D’Souza Speech which required a police presence, and even assault a conservative student,” University of Florida student Daniel Weldon told Campus Reform. “At Florida, YDSA has pushed for the abolition of ICE, government-controlled healthcare, and making UF a sanctuary campus.”