Student creates club for Democratic Socialism to raise awareness about current political climate

Jesse Mullen — Contributor

Most people do not start college at 24-years-old and co-form a political organization immediately, but that is exactly what history and education major Jacob Pouliot, a freshman, did with the Southern chapter of Young Democratic Socialists of America. Pouliot said he was inspired by other notable Connecticut socialist groups off campus.

“We’re definitely a minority, but the [Conn. Party for Socialism and Liberation] is out there doing quite a lot actually,” he said. “I’ve seen them twice now in downtown New Haven just on my way home from work.”

As for Southern’s claims of being a social justice university, Pouliot said he was not convinced, citing examples such as the use of facial recognition software to aid Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Pouliot also took issue with the allowance of far-right groups on campus, such as the recent demonstrators in front of Buley library.

“It’s not hard to differentiate hate speech from regular speech, and it’d be nice to see the administration make that distinction,” he said.

However, Pouliot concluded that direct action from students is more important than an administration’s policy.

Pouliot became interested in politics as a teenager when he noticed that climate change and wealth inequality were getting worse. He said he hopes to use his political knowledge to contribute to teachers’ unions once graduated from Southern.

Regarding student engagement, he said he was pleased overall but wished that students had a better understanding of the current political climate.

“I wish students had a better grasp of
how austerity cuts are almost always accompanied by tax cuts for the rich,” said Pouliot.

“How immigrants, African Americans, Muslims, the Latinx community, and the LGBTQ community share a common enemy and could benefit from defending each other’s interests.”

Noting that the public is not aware of “who the devastating policies of endless war and destruction of the environment” benefit, Pouliot hopes to change this.

Pouliot said he plans to use the organization to raise awareness of what socialism is inside the classroom as well as out, and in the future, he aspires to be a history teacher.

“I’d love for the rich history of anticapitalist politics and its theories to become common knowledge for our student body [and part of] our curriculum,” Pouliot said. “So much that is so relevant to so many people has deliberately been kept in the dark.”

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