BEN GAMBUZZA ’20
Brooke Williams ’19 and Samuel Bryan ’20 want change. That’s why they’re starting a chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) at Trinity. The Tripod sat down with both of them at a little booth in the Cave to talk about socialism.
As stated in its constitution, the national YDSA is a branch of DSA, the largest socialist organization in the country, according to their website. Some of YDSA’s aims are “to build the power of students to fight for equality, justice, and democratic socialism,” and “to educate and train YDSA members for a lifetime of organizing in the service of a democratic socialist future.” Brooke and Sam want to bring this vision closer to Trinity and Hartford.
Trinity YDSA will be a community service organization with an “ideological bent,” according to Williams. Too many community service organizations are “forgetting about the institutional factors that community service tries to alleviate in the first place,” she says. Food drives can only do so much. Those kinds of services are just “Band-Aids” for inequality, poverty, and food insecurity, the thinking goes. The ideological component of YDSA lends the organization to a broader vision, “informed by socialist thinking,” says Williams.
Bryan and Williams think the best way to define “democratic socialism” in this context is by “a set of problems and contradictions.” One of these contradictions is, Williams says, America being one of the richest countries in the world, while still having disproportionately high levels of poverty. Bryan and Williams can’t stand fiscal hypocrisy. Some things, they think, should not be treated as consumer goods. They think we should “take out the profit motives for things like Healthcare.”
But, as they say, college kids discussing political theory can only go so far. Which is why for their first semester, YDSA will be canvassing around Trinity and Hartford for universal healthcare and college-for-all. They will also be conducting a brake light drive in Hartford, replacing brake lights for free so drivers don’t get pulled over.
Following the 2016 election, Bryan and Williams think it’s important to turn “outrage into action.” This action, unlike many community service organizations, is not neutral. YDSA is emphatically “not apolitical,” says Williams.
YDSA will have their first general meeting Tuesday September 11 (today) at 5:30pm in the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement. Come by, they say, because “even if the word socialism scares you but you think all those examples of overproduction of food killing the planet, if you think all of that is abhorrent, morally, but still on the fence about calling yourself a socialist, just come check us out. We don’t bite.”