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Democratic Socialist Group Seeks to Become a Registered Student Organization

In light of President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders, forms of resistance against him, including protests, have become more prevalent in the United States. One group that organizes many of the protests is the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). Boston College will soon see its own rising group of socialists, as the Young Democratic Socialists of BC (YDSBC) seek to become a registered student organization (RSO) on campus.

“The primary purpose of the club will be to produce a more in-depth discussion [about socialism] on campus,” said Joshua Behrens, creator of the club and MCAS ’18. “I feel like critiquing capitalism is something we never discuss on campus and I think it’s a very important issue.”

The group has yet to submit official papers to request to become an RSO, but will do so once it has found a faculty adviser. Behrens said the group has talked to a few faculty members so far, but no one has officially been picked.

The idea for creating a BC chapter of Young Democratic Socialists, a youth wing of the DSA, came to Behrens after Trump won the election.

“Democrats failed to stop this crazy tangerine from winning the presidency,” Behrens said. “I felt like there had to be a better solution—a better way.”

Behrens is also an op-ed columnist for The Heights. His opinions are not affiliated with the paper.

Behrens was a supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. He said he thought the Democratic Party treated Sanders poorly during the primary, considering Hillary Clinton the presumptive nominee, ignoring the progressive base of the party Sanders energized early in the election. Behrens felt like there was not enough conversation about this on campus and began to do more research on democratic socialist organizations. He eventually came across the DSA and wanted to learn more about the group.

Last weekend, while attending a DSA conference in New York, Behrens met other young students from across the U.S. who started chapters at their own schools and had success. It was then that Behrens became passionate about establishing a chapter on BC’s campus.

On Tuesday, Behrens created a Facebook page for YDSBC and posted a link to a Google doc in which students interested in joining the group could submit their information. Behrens said almost 30 people have filled out the Google Doc, but many others have messaged the YDSBC page expressing their interest. The group currently has three people on the “officer board” who make decisions and has a GroupMe with 20 others who are helping to organize the club.

Behrens said that YDSBC won’t be focused on BC, but rather the greater Boston community. It will work to get students interested in socialism connected to the greater activist community in Boston. The group will help students find ways to resist Trump’s administration, including connecting them to protests in the city.

Behrens believes that Sanders, although he focuses progressive causes, isn’t a true democratic socialist.

“Bernie Sanders, even though he calls himself a democratic socialist, never critiqued the actual system of capitalism,” Behrens said. “As socialists, we critique the actual system of capitalism. We see capitalism as an undemocratic economic system.”

Democratic socialists want to reform the system and establish a “one worker, one vote” system, in which companies are democratized and workers have more of a say in the company. Democratic socialists also speak out against other systems of oppression such as sexism, racism, and homophobia. The group seeks not only economic justice, but political and social justice as well.

“An important thing to DSA and our local chapter is fighting what we see as an oppressive president and oppressive administration that is doing some horrible things,” Behrens said. “We see these things as very dangerous, and the democratic party right now is not stepping up to resist that.”

Featured Image Courtesy of Joshua Behrens

February 27, 2017

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