The Athens chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America held its first meeting on Thursday, Aug. 23 2018, laying out goals to push for higher wages for professional full-time workers at the University of Georgia, building and educating a membership base, reaching out to local high schools and building coalitions.
The meeting was held in the Tate Student Center and was comprised of approximately 30 students and Athens locals eager to be a part of YDSA.
“[YDSA] is the Young Democratic Socialists of America in Athens. Socialist, because we believe in people controlling their own labor. Socialist, because we believe in people controlling the product of their labor. And socialist, because we believe in people controlling the full value of their labor,” said RF, co-chair of YDSA in Athens.
“To be clear, this will probably take more than one semester,” said Harrison Finch, co-chair of YDSA in Athens. “The president of UGA is very passionate about not raising wages.”
RF and Finch also mentioned the Athens chapter of YDSA’s secondary goals: building and educating a membership base, reaching out to local high schools and building coalitions.
“We are planning on tabling and trying to get new members through the traditional methods that most clubs do,” Finch said. “We’re definitely actively trying to expand, but at the same time, I’ll take 50 committed people who are ready to go to war with [UGA President Jere] Morehead over 500 people who don’t care.”
YDSA in Athens plans to reach out to local high schools since the organization is open to not only UGA students but also to Athens locals under 30 years old.
During the meeting, attendees voted to hold a training session to educate members on democratic socialism and to have a two-month interim period before officials are elected.
Attendees also voted to elect Carson Poling, a junior economics major, as interim treasurer.
Citing the Democratic nomination victories of former Michigan House Rep. Rashida Tlaib to the U.S. House of Representatives and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York’s 14th Congressional District, members of YDSA in Athens expressed enthusiasm in the growth of democratic socialism in the U.S.
“There’s a lot of energy in this country. People are really excited about the hope and the freedom that socialism promises. The Democratic Socialists of America, just after Ocasio-Cortez won, has risen to now 50,000 members,” Findley said.