‘Socialism’ not a dirty word, student organization says


Kristian Carreon

Protesters hold signs advocating for the International Youth and Students for Social Equality during a February protest in front of Hepner Hall.

by Amber Nelson, Contributor

International Youth and Students for Social Equality is a political organization at San Diego State working toward the revival of the international socialist movement through the mobilization of the working class, as well as students at SDSU.

Members say IYSSE welcomes students who feel disconnected from the current political parties.

“For any of those disenfranchised with American politics today, which we believe a lot of people are, we are providing an alternative,” said IYSSE president and political science graduate student Sheen Adane. “Our underlying goals are: No to war, the right to a decent paying job, the right to health care (and) the right to quality education.”

IYSSE aims to spread the ideology of international socialism this year by educating members of the SDSU community on the history and message of socialism.

“We’re going to have guest speakers and special panels,” said IYSSE member Kevin Mitchell, who is not an SDSU student but helped start the organization at SDSU. “We think that without an understanding of history, you’re really clueless as to what the way forward is.”

Alane said the IYSSE has frequent guest speakers, including David North, the chairman of the Socialist Equality Party. This October, they will also be screening the film “Tsar to Lenin,” which documents the Russian Revolution.

Mitchell said that students play a key role in the mobilization of the working class and that they can be a large part of the international socialist movement.

“We think the struggles of students are inseparable from the struggles of the working class,” said Mitchell. “We want to turn students toward a working class which is what’s going to lead to change in society.”

Adane said that in the tense political climate today, IYSSE promotes an understanding and open approach to discussing politics. To the organization’s detractors, he said he advocates for a dialogue of ideas.

“I say let’s talk it out, and let’s do it in a public venue,” said Adane. “We’ve done this numerous times in the past where we’ve held debates (where) people can put forth their perspectives.”

According to Adane, the most important aspect of the IYSSE is that it is international, as opposed to the Democratic Socialists, who focus on national issues.

“If you really want to tackle not just the issues of society today, but the issues of the globe, it’s got to be in an international context,” he said.

One of the key factors that led Adane to join the IYSSE at SDSU in 2013 was their anti-war philosophy.

“There’s no one saying we shouldn’t go to war, we’re kind of accepting the fact that we are going to go to war soon,” he said. “That’s not something I’m willing to accept.”

IYSSE holds weekly meetings, every Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. in the Metztli room, located in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union. The meetings are open to anyone wanting to learn more about international socialism.

“Socialism is a very daunting term that in the past has been demonized,” said Adane. “If you want to accept those histories that’s one thing, but if you want to learn about it, then definitely come check us out.”