Socialist Night School

An approachable but rigorous series of ideological discussions.

In recent years, socialist has reemerged as a central framework in discussions of the ongoing political, econimic, and social crises facing Americans. With this resurgence comes an expanding need for education detached from the dominant for-profit model and rooted in the political struggles of working people. Scroll down for our current semester's sessions.

  • 14

    Night School: The Russian Revolution

    G7, Irvine Auditorium

    The Russian Revolution was the first victorious socialist revolution in history, accomplishing what the Paris Commune could have only dreamed of. In the century-plus since then, the meaning of October 1917 has been debated endlessly by scholars and activists, Communists and anti-Communists. Did Bolshevism contain the germs of Stalinism within it from the beginning, as liberals, as well as Lenin’s left-wing critics, contend? As democratic socialists, how can we reconcile the upsurge of popular democracy that marked the revolution with the bureaucratic and oppressive reality of the later Soviet state? Join Philly DSA night school as we look back on a watershed moment in the history of socialism, drawing from both historians and Lenin’s own writings on spontaneity and the revolutionary party.


    * Background: Entry on Bolshevism (Bottomore - Dictionary of Marxist Thought)

    * Smith - The Russian Revolution - A Very Short Introduction (Chapter 1)

    * Lenin, Lih, & Draper on Bolshevism 

  • 30

    Night School: Bernie Sanders

    Golkin Room, Houston Hall

    In the personality-obsessed universe of U.S. presidential politics, “Not Me, Us” is an unlikely slogan. Bernie Sanders repeatedly insists that winning power will require even more than the presidential office—it will require a political revolution that mobilizes millions of working people at the ballot box, in their workplaces, and in their neighborhoods. The campaign has used its vast listserv to turn out supporters for picket lines and support undocumented immigrants who are living under siege from ICE raids. Along the way, the campaign has built a social movement of a sort not seen in the U.S. for decades.

    Bernie Sanders's bid for political office presents an unprecedented opportunity for socialists. Join Philly DSA to talk about his campaign and how we can win power.


    Nancy Fraser, “From Progressive Neoliberalism to Trump and Beyond

    Jedediah Britton-Purdy, “A World to Make: Eleven Theses for the Bernie Sanders Generation

    Luke Savage, “Bernie Sanders Has a Plan — But He’s Also Building a Movement


  • 16

    Night School: What is Capitalism?

    Golkin Room, Houston Hall


    We all know what we're up against: capitalism! But what exactly is capitalism? Is it a thing, a system, or something else? And, why does it persist in spite of the fact that it promotes so much instability, crisis, and suffering? There are different ways to understand the political economy, not all of which are compatible. Figuring out exactly what we’re up against is crucial if our goal is to change it.

Looking for another semester of the night school?

2019 Summer School

2018-2019 Semester

2017-2018 Semester

Join Philly DSA

Isn't it time to do something? Get involved with the Local.