Club Spotlight: The Socialist Club

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After months of planning and preparation, Dickinson College’s newest political group -the Socialist Club- has opened its doors for new members. 

The idea for the group, according to its founding members, came about during the United States federal government shutdown of 2013. The founding members explained that, though they saw many student political groups active on Dickinson during the politically charged first week of October, there were still many marginal students whose opinion weren’t being completely covered by either the College Democrats or Republicans.

“We wanted to change the campus culture. We felt that College Democrats and Republicans weren’t able to represent all of the students at Dickinson,” said Simon Ciccarillo ’16, co-chair of the group. “For example, the College Democrats aren’t as liberal as most hope.”

The group hopes that, by creating a third political club at Dickinson, they can help improve the college’s political climate as well as educate others about socialism. 

”Our main goal,” explained Mark Shaffer ’16, co-chair of the club, “is to help students learn more about socialism, as well as dispel the images and associations that surround it. We want to make the school more open minded and show them a new perspective.” 

One of the fallacies the group hopes to dispel in the coming months is students’ narrow definition of socialism.

“There are a lot of varying ideas expressed through socialism,” said Ezra Sassaman ’16, one of the founding members of the club. “Feminism, economics, environmentalism…[Socialism] embodies many different interests and beliefs. It is not just Communism.” 

The group currently defines itself as Democratic Socialist, a form of socialism that calls for the creation of a political party to advocate economic and political beliefs. Despite this focus, the group’s founders claim that they welcome all students regardless of their political beliefs, and that their current membership contains Leninists, Marxists and Stalinists, among others. 

The club’s meetings are designed to help educate its membership as well as foster open debate. Their weekly meetings include readings about the history and theory of socialism and discussions about current events as they relate to socialist issues. 

Shaffer hopes that, as the club grows and gains more of a presence on Dickinson’s campus, they will be able to bring in guest lecturers and co-host events with other politically minded groups. 

Currently the group is just getting itself established. They have sent students out to speak with professors and other group heads to help foster a dialogue. 

The group currently meets every Wednesday in Althouse 109. For more information or on ways to get involved, you can contact Ciccarillo at [email protected] or Shaffer at [email protected]