Washtenaw Community College Young Democratic Socialists of America
August 2019 new addition to the student organizations at WCC is the Washtenaw Community College Young Democratic Socialists of America. The YDSA protested during the summer in hopes that the board of trustees would choose not to outsource the college’s IT department.
“Community action is very important,” said Robert Barber, chairperson of the YDSA. When asked about the summer protesting, Barber said, “I think some important things came out of it. We raised awareness in the community… we laid the change for the future.”
Nearby YDSA chapters include those at the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University.
“Our YDSA chapter is just a small piece of a much broader movement,” said Barber.
The foremost belief of the group is democracy for all, with particular regard for marginalized and oppressed groups.
“YDSA is explicitly pro-LGBTQ, pro-African-American, pro-religious diversity, pro-multi-culturalism; we do not discriminate against people if they have had mental health issues [or] substance use issues,” Barber said. “We really believe in uplifting all members of the community.”
So who should join the YDSA? People who want to make more of an effort in their community and create safe spaces for everyone. Barber mentioned the recent mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, saying that these tragic events are happening more and more frequently, and that the YDSA is committed to taking action in these disturbing times.
“DSA has to be about showing the community that we have their backs, and that people feel safe and comfortable being around us,” Barber said. “Because we are living in an increasingly unsafe world.”
Setting goals and making a course of action for the 2019-20 school year is really up to the group as a whole, as they are a democracy.
Barber said the group hopes to “…expand and build and lay down roots that are going to outlast those of us who are in the group currently.”
Brandon Moore is a member of the YDSA who joined because of the group’s campaign against the proposal to outsource WCC’s IT department.
Moore said that the YDSA is focusing on welcome week, collaborating with other DSA chapters and encouraging other students to join the group.
“There is definitely a stigma around the word ‘socialism’ that has been implanted by mass media and by the government itself,” Moore said.
Moore encourages students to be more open-minded and realize that socialism is often misunderstood and grouped in with communism, but the two concepts are not the same.
“People should definitely be more involved in politics, whether or not they agree with our opinions,” said Moore.