Fighting the Campus Right: How to Organize Against Racist, Homophobic Activists

Fighting the Campus Right: How to Organize Against Racist, Homophobic Activists

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Friday, Jul. 14 10:30 AM (Central)

Ends: Friday, Jul. 14 11:30 AM (Central)

Room: Salon C-5/6

The right-wing youth ecosystem has long excelled at organizing collectively; messaging uniformly and training, training, training young activists—particularly on college campuses. Yes, their ideas are dangerous, radical and anti-democratic. But their ability to empower young activists and their deep-pocketed donors’ willingness to fund so-called ‘grassroots’ youth groups have put left-wing organizers at a disadvantage when it comes to engaging students in the business of democracy building. How did this right-wing ecosystem come to be, and how can progressives combat it? What tricks, tools and strategies can we use to fight their well-funded astro-turfing with real student activism?


Julian Epp

Julian Epp is an editor for StudentNation, an online section of The Nation magazine written by young people that publishes first-person accounts from student activists and organizers. He has written for Dissent and The New Republic.


Jakob Miles Buckley


Jakob Buckley is a student organizer at the University of Arizona. He founded the Students for Transparency, a student group focused on combating right-wing donor influence at the University of Arizona. Jakob also works for Kochs Off Campus!, a Tucson community organization focused on combating right-wing influence in education in Arizona. He is a rising junior double majoring in Political Science and Economics with a minor in Spanish.

Mary Pat Hector

National Youth Director, National Action Network / Public Speaker & Life Coach

Kyle Spencer

Kyle Spencer is an award-winning journalist, political consultant and author of the critically-acclaimed Raising Them Right – The Untold Story of America’s Ultraconservative Youth Movement and It’s Plot for Power, a behind-the-scenes account of the far right’s efforts to capture the youth vote. Kyle regularly speaks about Democracy-building efforts and consults progressive groups on communicating their values to young voters and getting them to the polls. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Politico and many other publications. She is a frequent MSNBC contributor and can be followed at @KyleYSpencer.