By Nicholas Clark
On Monday, Sept. 19, members of Socialist Alternative hosted an open forum to discuss concerns and controversies about issues plaguing the international community, the United States, and our very own Worcester State community.
Socialist Alternative welcomed Theo Winston – the national chair of Socialist Students in the United Kingdom, an active member of Socialist Party UK, and a student at Nottingham University – as a special guest for the event.
Socialist Alternative is a nationwide organization that support the ideals of socialism across the country. Fighting for the working class, SA is dedicated to targeting dire social issues such as racism, sexism, and income inequality, among many others.
Seats at the event were filled with those from a wide array of backgrounds within our local community. The crowd included SA members from other cities, as well as students from both Clark University and Worcester State University. Faculty from WSU’s philosophy department were also there to participate in the dialogue.
Winston opened up the discussion with an introduction to the “crisis of capitalism” and explained how capitalism prioritizes profit over everything else.
Winston declared that capitalism is leading to “a world in turmoil,” as he pointed to examples at home in the US as well as abroad where highly polarized politics have paved the way for new socialist parties to gain momentum.
Referencing the presidential campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, which called for a political revolution, Winston explained how Sanders contributed to a “waking up” of American youth to rally for a new mass political force. Although Sanders could not make good on his promise to deliver a political revolution to his supporters, Socialist Alternative states they will continue to fight for the rights of the working class and will not stop at anything short of a political revolution.
During the talk, Winston endorsed Green Party candidate Jill Stein for president because of her strong commitment to the working class. He then went on to denounce both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as well as their parties, claiming their records and rhetoric show their true allegiance to the established system.
Winston ended on the well-received note that Socialist Alternative advocates the total abolishment of the “for profit” capitalist system and instead favors a democracy where socialism allows for a powerful working class and need-based system.
The focus then shifted to the local community and Socialist Alternative’s impact at large when Worcester State student Nicholas Wurst took the stand.
“What does the global crisis of capitalism mean for Worcester?” Wurst asked, moving on to cover topics that are of major concern to Worcester State students and faculty.
Applause was heard in the crowd as the floor was opened to pressing issues like the defunding of interdisciplinary programs, rising cost of attending WSU, living wages and wage increases for faculty and work-study students, among others.
The mood in the room changed upon the discussion of these controversial topics and voices sprang out wanting to add to the discussion.
Problems discussed paralleled those that seem to be gripping Americans nationwide. With discussion ranging from environmental issues like urging Worcester State to divest from nonrenewable energy to a critique of the campus police for what was described as recent militarization and an alarming increase in size, many attendees were eager to comment. The question of resident hall bag checks’ constitutionality and funding for campus police gained a considerable amount of attention.
Clark students present added that Worcester State students are not alone in these issues as they are facing similar struggles, and speakers emphasized how important it is that students to use their voices to produce the political pressure necessary to make a change in policy.
Socialist Alternative had a goal Monday night to inspire, motivate, and educate all those who wish know more about their group and ambitions. Yet they set out to achieve possibly more than they bargained for, as an invigorated crowd did not hold back from voicing their concerns.
With a local crowd of varying backgrounds, it seemed a success for Socialist Alternative as they demonstrated the rewarding process of democratic discussion. Allowing anyone in the crowd to voice their concerns proved successful in generating discussion of the issues that our local community faces everyday.
SA is on its way to becoming an official club at Worcester State University with hopes of continuing its mission – to conquer the “crisis of capitalism” and rebuild a community without “for profit” values, focusing on the needs and equality of all.