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Speaker: Don’t confuse socialists with communists

Published: Sun, September 25, 2011 @ 12:05 a.m.

By David Skolnick



Growing up in Poland, Andrew Porter said one of his great interests was history.

As he got older, Porter, 26, said, “I was motivated by people who made the world a better place. I developed a deep love for democracy. I had these interests in high school, but I really didn’t know what do with it.”

While at the College of Wooster, Porter figured out what to do with that “deep love for democracy.”

He became a socialist.

Today, Porter, a 2005 graduate of Poland Seminary High School, is the national organizer for the Young Democratic Socialists, the youth arm of the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist organization in the country with about 6,500 members.

Porter said his brand of socialism shouldn’t be confused with Cold War Soviet communists.

“That is the biggest misconception people have of socialism,” he said. “The DSA has strong opposition to the former USSR’s totalitarianism. That was terrible.”

The goals of Democratic Socialists, Porter said, are to expand democracy; work to make sure everyone has a chance to fulfill their potential despite their race, class, gender or sexual orientation; and to stop government and businesses from controlling society.

Though some Republicans accuse Barack Obama of being a socialist, Porter said he’s “disappointed” the president is too moderate to be a socialist.

“I’d be real happy if Obama was a socialist,” Porter said.

Porter said he’s a realist who knows “there isn’t this magic, perfect world” of a socialist “utopia.”

Rather, socialists “have to be long-distance runners. We won’t see immediate changes. We have to be in it for the long haul. We have to be OK with things gradually getting better. Some things have gotten better.”

Porter said he’s pleased that more states are legalizing gay marriages, the federal government ended “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the military, and the Obama administration no longer is defending the Defense of Marriage Act.

As YDS’ national organizer, Porter primarily is responsible for creating new chapters and working with established chapters on college campuses.

Nationally, Porter said, there are about seven strong chapters, 10 solid chapters, 10 that just began and about six or seven potential new chapters. The membership in the chapters is five to 10 core members and up to 30 others, he said.

Among the solid chapters, he said, is Youngstown State University’s Students for Social Justice.

Students for Social Justice is affiliated with YDS and other social-justice groups, said Dan Buckler, its president and a high-school friend of Porter’s. The two also attended the College of Wooster together.

“Andrew is very passionate, and it comes out when speaking with him,” said Buckler, a postgraduate student. “All you have to do is look at his accomplishments as national organizer.”

Porter was on the YSU campus Wednesday speaking to a group of nine students at an event sponsored by Students for Social Justice. Porter spoke about YDS and urged people to vote against Issue 2 on the November ballot that, if approved, would remove most collective-bargaining rights from public employees.


1lee(544 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Socialism is just communism lite it only takes one bad leader to take it all the way. We don't need to go down that road

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2metroman(42 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

I think Mr. Porter should read Orwell's 1984, it was required reading in the old days. You know War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery and Ignorance is Strength. We are in World War III but we are at Peace, freedom is now Slavery; try getting on a plane. Oh by the way it's coming to a Mall near you. Ignorance is Strength, we made someone President of whom we new nothing about. Yes Alice, we have gone through the looking glass.

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3piak(508 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

If as the speaker says, their goal (among other things) is to "stop goverment and business from controlling society", why do they call themselves socialists?

That's what socialism IS and communism was, control of industry and society. Planned economies and "cradle to grave" care of people are their trademarks.

Mussolini started out as a socialist; Hitler added the word "deutsche" to the already existing word "Socialist" in the title of his infamous party. Both were "organizers" of note. Or disrepute, depending on what you believe in. Lenin also referred to communism as "socialism" on ocassion.

Then too, look at Europe and it's failed economic policies. You see socialism in a lot of it.

Way to go YSU. Encourage more of this really weird and aberrant thinking. Let's have more councils with fancy initials dreamed up and dotting our higher education processes.

Both Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman didn't go to college. They were solid leaders of their America.

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4metroman(42 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

No pure democracy has every survived, that's why the founders created a Republic. In a pure Democracy the population will always vote themselves a raise at the expense of the producers. The Vote on issue 5 is an example. Low turnout in an off-year election makes it a winner. As the New World Order DE-industrialized us ( REPUBLA-CRATS both Democrats and republicans) government employees became the elite. If they all turn out plus all their relatives, friends and other people thinking "pure democracy" the low turnout will make them a winner.
Like I said, " they will always vote themselves a raise at they expense of the producers."

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5Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

metroman - - -Your a breath of fresh air. Good to see someone else who is awake.

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6TylerDurden(367 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

If this kid Porter had half a brain he'd realize this is a republic, not a democracy. BIG difference. Every 26 year old has visions of a new world. The problem is at 26 you don't know sh*t about life, you only think you do. You spent your whole life in a classroom practicing theory with no real world experience.

Good post metroman.

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7BobK(14 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Interesting link by KimK above. The contrast of the the Illinois and Indiana government was notable. Do you know why Indiana government progressed? Gov Daniels enabled policies similar to what our Gov. Kasich is trying to do. They got control of state and government finances through reform.IE: SB5 like.

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8Tigerlily(488 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Please, everyone, slap each others backs. It will only seal the deal on the performance here.

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9FifthAve(168 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

"He spoke to a group of nine students..."

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10Stan(9923 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Socialists ? Commie Liberals . . ..

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11jrolley325(800 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

the people's REPUBLIC of china just happens to be a communist country.

and do you remember the union of the soviet SOCIALIST REPUBLIC?

el oh el.

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12jrolley325(800 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

just sayin....people like to throw around the word "republic" as if it is a synonym for america.

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13TylerDurden(367 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Definition of REPUBLIC
a (1): a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who in modern times is usually a president (2): a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government
b (1): a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law (2): a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government

Merriam-Webster Dictionary. How's that? I'll chime in whenever I damn well please.

Smarter than you are dude. I'm finishing my coffee.

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