By Alex Emerson
A three-year old club at Ohio Wesleyan University still pushes for action on issues of justice on the basis of class, race and gender.
The Young Democratic Socialist Association meets on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. to discuss and take action on social and political issues, said Carl DeScott, the current co-chair.
“Our mission is to educate and organize students and the community in order to promote movements for social justice on campus, in our community, and nationwide,” DeScott said. “Our vision of socialism is built on democratic, feminist and anti-racist ideals.”
The club was founded on the basis of democratic socialism, but it has become a melting pot of left-wing ideals where everyone is open to a range of opinions, said John Bowman, the co-founder of the club.
“There were a few major things holding us together like anti-fascism, but our members were a whole spectrum of left-wing students with differing opinions,” Bowman said. “One of the greatest parts of the organization is playing to the skills of different people, creating discourse and moving away from a power dynamic.”
Both DeScott and Bowman emphasized the importance of not only discussion but action as a part of the organization’s goals.
“What one should expect if they were to join the YDSA is that we are a club that doesn’t just talk about politics, we act,” DeScott said. “We choose to fight so that we can live in a more equitable and just society.”
Bowman said, “our chapter of the YDSA isn’t like other political organizations that act like a book club where everyone just talks about what’s wrong with the world. It provides a place where we can come together, organize and then act.”
Quoting U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Bowman said, “I don’t want to watch the polls, I want to change the polls.”
During the fall semester, the YDSA hosted “Rock the Vote,” a concert with registering to vote being the price of admission. The organization has been preparing events for next semester, DeScott said, including hosting a veteran to talk about war and the treatment of veterans, which is will be in March. Also, the YDSA plans to collaborate with the Democrat and Republican organizations on campus to inform students about the candidates for the national primaries.
“We are making pamphlets for each of the relevant candidates solely based on what their positions are on the issue, and collaboration will help remove any indication of bias,” DeScott said.
The club was founded in 2016 by Trevor Martin and John Bowman. “After the election in 2016, I wanted to try and make a change,” Martin said. “John and I met at the Columbus chapter of the YDSA agreed to organize a YDSA at Ohio Wesleyan.”
Bowman said during their time as co-chairs, the club organized a trip to Washington, D.C. for the Democratic Socialist Association convention, protested against Bret Kavanaugh in 2018, and laid the groundwork for the club so it could grow.
For more information on the YDSA, which has chapters in schools across America, look on the website here.