Last semester, four students involved in the Democratic Socialists of America wanted to start a youth chapter. Soon after, the YDSA chapter of UTSA developed and became a registered organization at the university. The organization holds weekly meetings focusing on political education and discussion of topics important to the principles of the organization. Freshman geography and environmental sustainability major Chance Walker acts as co-chair of the YDSA chapter at UTSA and spoke to The Paisano about the organization.chapter at UTSA spoke to The Paisano about the organization.
Q: What particular principles are the foundation for YDSA?
Fundamentally, we’re Democratic Socialists, which means our goal is to take power away from elites and empower working class people. We’re trying to unite people to fight against racism, sexism, poverty, imperialism and inequality of all kinds. This often means fighting for reforms like Medicare for All, free college and the right to organize labor unions. It also means fighting for political power for working class people so in the long-term we can replace capitalism with a system based on economic democracy.
Q: What does the YDSA chapter want to accomplish off campus?
Outside of campus, we want to work on developing our ties to other organizations and other struggling people and movements. We want to connect with other YDSA chapters in Texas and across the country along with immigrant, feminist, and anti-racist organizations as well as help high school students in San Antonio start YDSA chapters and overall expand the horizons of our movement. We’re also working with San Antonio DSA to raise money to send some of our members to the National YDSA Winter Conference in Washington D.C. this February, which will bring together delegates from over one hundred YDSA chapters in all 50 states in the biggest meeting of socialist youth since the 1960s.
Q: What does the YDSA chapter want to accomplish on campus?
We want to start a Labor Support Committee, or maybe even a separate organization affiliated with us, to support people who work on campus and want to organize with the Texas State Employees Union. This is a very long-term project and would require us to substantially deepen our relationship with workers on campus since very few people are currently in the union, which means it has almost no power since Texas does not give public workers formal bargaining rights. We also want to try and bring more students into the socialist movement and develop our skills to fight for things we care about and continue educating people about democratic socialism.
Q: Has the YDSA chapter done anything recently?
We did a lot in the last four months. We held dozens of public meetings to discuss issues such as environmentalism, socialist feminism, economic inequality, homelessness, history of resistance, fighting racism, anti-war movements and dismantling the prison system. We raised more than $100 and collected dozens of coats for the homeless, gave out free lunches on campus, participated in the #UTSA united anti-fascist coalition, hosted union and community organizers. We also work closely with Students for Justice in Palestine and showed solidarity at all their rallies and events in support of their struggle against imperialism and for peace. We delivered a petition to congressman Will Hurd demanding he act to save Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients from being deported and dealt with the cops being called on us while we were there.
Q: Is there any information or upcoming events you want readers to know about?
We don’t have dates yet, but we’re going to try to have big teach-ins this semester on Medicare for All, Prison Abolition, and the student debt crisis. So keep an eye out for those on our Facebook, YDSA at UTSA, and Twitter, @UTSA_Socialists.