In August, I found myself in an extremely packed-out after party for the 2017 Democratic Socialists of America Convention in Chicago. The beers and snacks were plentiful and free, the guys from the leftist comedy podcast Chapo Trap House were there, and the atmosphere was welcoming. The crowd was mostly under 30, warm, friendly and passionate about making change in a divided America. Far from the sinister Stalinist ideology that it's been painted as throughout the 20th century, the socialist movement in 2017 seems vibrant, exciting and most of all optimistic.
While socialism has traditionally had a younger base of support, until now, exposure among millennials has often been coloured by aggressive Socialist Alternative campaigners on university campuses. Today, though, the DSA boast over 30,000 paying members. “Sassy Socialist Memes” on Facebook nears a million followers. Chapo Trap House -- whose “Dirtbag Left” irony-activism has fired a new generation of leftists -- attracts an incredible $88,000 in Patreon subscriptions per month. The cult of Bernie Sanders and the near victory of the UK's “absolute boy” Jeremy Corbyn have seen socialism morph from a dirty word to something inspiring passion in young people looking to make sense of their political reality.