‘Socialism 101’ breaks down meanings behind Democratic Socialism

Meagan Stackpool

Four speakers discussed the ins and outs of what Democratic Socialism actually is during an informational meeting held by the Colorado State University Young Democratic Socialists of America Monday night.

The meeting, called Socialism 101, was open to the public and welcomed a variety of political beliefs, with students from Students Against White Supremacy, as well as Turning Point USA, in attendance. Discussion was regularly opened to the crowd.

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Larson Ross, a senior studying Political Science and a member of YDSA, introduced the overarching goal of Democratic Socialism, and how socialism functions as the opposite to capitalism. 

“Democracy is an ends as well as a means,” Ross said. “Real democratic socialism has at its heart, not only democracy, but also an attempt to restrict and destroy hierarchy. Your ability to create value should not determine whether or not you can live comfortably.

The talk discussed a wide variety of topics in relation to Democratic Socialism. Ross began by stating a national healthcare system is morally and economically right. One of the more heavily discussed topics was the economic impact of capitalism and the views of Democratic Socialists on economics and the environment. 

“The people who are going to be safe from the changing climate and rising sea levels are going to be those who can afford to move away from dangerous areas and to build up their infrastructure to keep their cities and their homes safe,” Ross said. “This is the case for a few people in the US, not that many. It’s also definitely not the case in most of the rest of the word, and most of the rest of the world is having to live with the problems that industrialized nations have caused and that we are all continuing to cause now.”

The talk also discussed the problems with racism and capitalism. 

“(The historic economic model of capitalism) is based on the exploitation, murder, and use of the bodies of Native Americans, African slaves and the working class,” Ross said.

Issues with trade agreements like NAFTA and the racial bias of the judicial system were also discussed. Ross and the other speakers touched on immigration and the xenophobic tendencies society has, in part from capitalism. More direct economic issues like inflation, cost of living and homelessness were introduced through the perspective of Democratic Socialists.

Alex Shultz, a speaker for YDSA and a sophomore, discussed the importance of clearing the air around socialism. 

“There has been a lot of misinformation about socialism on campus, especially with groups like TPUSA and other conservative organizations,” Shultz said. “They take flawed examples of socialism in different countries and use that to say that capitalism is the main, and should be the, ultimate economic system without actually giving a full understanding of what socialism is.”

Cody Bridges, an economic major set to graduate in the fall, came as an audience member. He expressed why he felt it was important to attend. 

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“I recognize that the current system that we do live in has a lot of flaws and Democratic Socialism, at least to me, seems that it can solve a lot, maybe not all, but a lot of the issues that are destroying the system we’re living in now,” Bridges said. 

Collegian reporter Meagan Stackpool can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @meaganstackpool

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly quoted Alex Shultz’s comment about misinformation about socialism on campus. This article has been updated to reflect his original intentions.