This month, on Saturday 13 July, our chapter hosted a double session of Socialism 101. Two-thirds of the attendees at both classes were new to DSA and most of them had heard about the course through DSA activities in support of the Bernie 2020 Campaign.
Our Socialism 101 class is a space for introducing and exploring the basic terms and concepts of socialism. Many who join DSA haven’t had much exposure to radical political analysis, and it might even be their first time exposed to explicitly anti-capitalist views of the world. Most people we encounter in the world have certainly heard the terms ‘socialism’ and ‘capitalism’; Far too few of our co-workers and neighbors have been asked “What is socialism?” or “What is capitalism?”…and even fewer have been offered a space to explore the answers to those questions with others.
Over about two hours, Socialism 101 asks attendees to collaborate in small groups and as a whole to find the answers to such questions as:
- What is Capitalism? How does it sustain itself as a system?
- What would a better system we call Socialism look like?
- What sorts of things do we need to fight Capitalism and construct Socialism?
- What is needed from a socialist organization to be an effective tool in this fight?
These questions, along with some basic definition of terms, help those relatively new to DSA (or even experienced organizers) to start with a framework that so much future education and organizing strategy will be built upon. As we continue to fight for a better world we will only find more comrades to introduce to these ideas. No matter how deeply powerful our analysis may be on many of the pressing topics of the day, we must always challenge ourselves to be able to offer clear introduction to the cornerstone terms and concepts that form our foundation.
Whether you’ve never been to a DSA meeting, you’ve been an organizer for years, or somewhere in between, consider coming to our next round of Socialism 101 classes. We’ll be having them more regularly the second half of this year, so watch our calendar and social media for dates.
-Anders B. Political Education Coordinator