After last November’s chilling election results, it is no wonder many people are becoming disillusioned with the two-party political system in the United States. This is especially true for those of us on the left, as we have noticed that Democratic politicians seem to be losing their backbone and aren’t as progressive as they claim.
When U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders announced his presidential campaign, a lot of people recognized the unique appeal he had. Though Sanders ran as a Democratic candidate, he is a member of the Independent Party and has identified himself as a democratic socialist. For a lot of us, Sanders was our first real introduction to socialism in the United States.
If you’re interested in exploring socialism further, then consider attending Socialism 101: Students, Socialism & the Revolution. This event will be hosted by the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), while West Chester University’s Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) are sponsoring the event.
SDS Vice President Ian Gallagher described the FRSO as “a Marxist-Leninist organization that is dedicated to bringing about the establishment of socialism to the United States… through an alliance of the working class and oppressed nationalities.”
“Essentially, we fight for women’s and LGBT+ liberation, fight against all forms of male supremacy, homophobia and heterosexism, and fight against racist/white supremacist national oppression,” said Gallagher.
Gallagher explained that SDS decided to sponsor the event because they “know there’s an alternative to capitalism.”
“You can’t simply be against capitalism without offering a solution, and for us, that solution is socialism,” said Gallagher. “Secondly, students have always played a large role in movements throughout history. Students have more power to affect change than previously thought. Our workshop will show them what their power is, the history of students using that power and how we can use it today in the Trump era.”
According to Gallagher, Socialism 101 will be set up as “a preliminary seminar with some practical Q&A that will show the students and people who attend how they can organize against [President Donald] Trump, his agenda, and motivate them to take hold of their future.”
Gallagher said that, to them, socialism is “the right to self-determination.”
“Socialism means food for all, beds for all, jobs for all, education for all,” said Gallagher. “Socialism is fairness. Socialism is liberation.”
Gallagher also noted that the Socialism 101 workshop would address several misconceptions about socialism. According to Gallagher, the biggest one is the idea that “socialism sounds good on paper or in theory, but in practice it doesn’t work.”
“If socialism failed, then why are there still five socialist countries in the world? I think people don’t realize that socialism and capitalism cannot be directly compared or contrasted socially, economically, politically and morally,” said Gallagher. “People forget that socialism is not made to fail. Socialism is a system that is made to succeed, continue and prosper.”
Gallagher emphasized the necessity of holding the Socialism 101 workshop because, while Sanders may have started to shed some light on socialism, “now we need to learn what it is, what it isn’t and what we can do to achieve it.”
So if you’re interested in attending this workshop, please come join us on Saturday, March 4 from 12:30 to 3:00 p.m. in the Main Hall auditorium.
As Gallagher put it, “now is the time for all progressive people to come together and continue to build the struggle.”
“This event is important because my life is at stake, your life is at stake, and a majority of the U.S population’s lives are at stake,” said Gallagher. “What can we do when our lives are under attack? We stand up, we fight back!”
Casey Tobias is a third-year student majoring in women’s and gender studies and communication studies with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at CT822683@wcupa.edu. Her Twitter is @Casey__Tobias.