Philadelphia Day School 2018

Socialism is experiencing a resurgence in the wake of the 2016 election. Though once widely rejected in the US, people are once again asking: can socialism guide us to a better world? And, what actions will actually help us get there?

The Philadelphia DSA/Solidarity Day School will explore these and a range of other questions. Featuring panels by a number of prominent writers, organizers, and scholars, as well as workshops exploring the theories and histories informing socialist organizing, we’ll discuss the strategies that can lead to real working class power.

Throughout the day, we’ll consider a range of key programs, from the labor movement to electoral politics and the viability of alternative socialist parties. Whether you’re new to socialism or a longtime organizer, join us to discuss goals for the socialist movement in the years leading up to the 2020 election–and beyond.

Program (Download Solidarity x DSA Day School Program)

10:00: Registration, Tabling, etc.

10:20: Welcome/Introduction

10:40: Break

10:45: Morning Workshop 

Working Class & Labor History 

Why should socialists focus on the working class? Are unions a vessel for political power, or are they bloated bureaucracies? What are the successes and failures of the rank & file strategy in labor movement since the 1970s? Stephanie Luce (CUNY, Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies), Jane Slaughter (Labor Notes, Solidarity, Detroit DSA), and Dan La Botz (NYC – DSA, Solidarity, Founding Member for Teamsters for a Democratic Union)    


The Left is not only plagued with debates about what to do in order to win power—there are debates about whether we should have debates in the first place. This session will zoom in on some of the key discussions in socialist theory: the who, the what, and the why guiding socialists as they envision a road to power.

12:15 Break for Lunch


Workshop 3: Elections

While candidates such as Bernie Sanders have galvanized the Left, electoral work is not without its risks. This panel will explore all things related to socialists in office, from core discussions about when (and whether) socialists should enter political races, to recent discussions surrounding Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jovanka Beckles.

Workshop 4: Rank & File

What are the challenges facing rank and file organizers today? How can socialist politics influence our organizing, and how can workplace organizing influence our politics? Why should we connect tangible workplace wins to the socialist project? Paul Prescod, Laura Gabby, and Steve Downs will present.

2:45 Break

3:00 Final Panel

Socialism is gaining inertia in the wake of the 2016 election, but the future remains uncertain. Are we on the verge of a new age of radicalism, or is recent social upheaval a brief aftershock following the triumph of capitalism? Panelists Dustin Guastella (Philly DSA), Vivek Chibber (NYU), and Joanna Misnik (Solidarity, Chicago DSA) will discuss what the Left should be doing in the time before the 2020 presidential race—and beyond.

Even if you are unable to attend, please consider donating to help cover our costs. We want to make participation possible for the widest audience so we are not charging for admission but the school expenses will exceed $1000. So we ask all who can to contribute $100, $50, $25 or whatever you can afford to help us educate ourselves for the struggle.