According to the Democratic Socialists of America, democratic socialism is “a system where ordinary people have a real voice in our workplaces, neighborhoods and society.”
The Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) is now a Student Senate-recognized student organization at the University of Rhode Island, looking to educate students on their ideology and meet with like-minded students.
Democratic socialism hopes to achieve goals such as workers’ rights, racial and economic justice and social welfare programs through democratic means, according to the Democratic Socialists of America’s website.
“It’s an ideology that’s based off of the democratic ownership of the workplace because you know, how we have a democracy politically and so democratic socialism is focused on bringing democracy to the workplace,” said Mia Giglietti, one of the chairpeople of the URI YDSA.
Giglietti, a junior political science and economics double major, said she is excited to see how the club grows and expands with the recent Student Senate recognition. Giglietti is co-chair of the organization alongside Kevin Hart, a senior political science and history double major.
“I would say I’m most looking forward to political education,” Hart said. “I look forward to kind of teaching people about socialism, but also putting that political education into practice.”
The YDSA plans on working on a few projects for the URI community, including creating a community fridge in the Memorial Union to fight food insecurity, having political teach-in lectures and running a cheap textbook drive for students, according to Hart.
“I’m really looking forward to the community fridge that we hope to put on campus, but also I think the cheap textbook drive has a lot of importance for students around here,” he said. “That kind of shows a socialist policy on a kind of smaller level that then people can relate to a larger scale.”
As the club grows, Giglietti said the YDSA hopes to create more programs across campus, including subcommittees within the organization.
Both Hart and Giglietti stressed the importance of learning about democratic socialism, especially for college students.
“I think it’s important to broaden how we think about how our economic system should be structured and who specifically it should work for,” Giglietti said. “I feel it establishes people’s worth as workers like people deserve. People deserve to be able to live comfortably off one job.”
Hart said that democratic socialism is becoming a growing political force and argued that people should learn more about alternatives to capitalism.
The YDSA is hoping to kickstart their cheap textbook drive soon and figure out the logistics to provide students with more affordable options for textbooks. Giglietti is hoping to start the program next semester.
“A lot of what we do is based around trying to materially improve socio-economic conditions of especially low-income students,” Giglietti said. “We also look to advocate for working-class interests and really helping in trying to help out people who don’t have access to a lot of these things.”
Giglietti said that there are a few members of the Rhode Island State Senate and State House of Representatives that are democratic socialists, including Senator Sam Bell and Representative David Morales.
“We want to have them as speakers, and maybe be able to do political teach-ins to teach about the state of democratic socialist politics in Rhode Island,” Giglietti said.
YDSA URI meets Thursdays in Memorial Union room 308 at 7 p.m. More information can be found on their official Instagram page @uri_ydsa or emails can be sent to email@example.com.