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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 4 years, 10 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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2piak(508 comments)posted 4 years, 10 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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3Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

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

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4TylerDurden(367 comments)posted 4 years, 10 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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5BobK(62 comments)posted 4 years, 10 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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6Tigerlily(509 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

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

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7Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Socialists ? Commie Liberals . . ..

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8300(573 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

TylerDurden--"this is a republic, not a democracy"

Alas, what the uneducated say when they want to appear knowledgeable. Please, define "republic" without using the term "democracy". Also, does anyone know where this false cliche originated? Is this a ploy to subconsciously play down Democrats while raising up Republicans? Because it seems like a PR campaign of some sorts.

Also, Tyler, following your argument for specificity, the US isn't a republic. We're a federal-republic. Or, a federalized representative democracy.

If you don't know what you're talking about, you'd do best no to chime in.

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9300(573 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

A country could be both democratic and communist, since one's a political system and the other's an economic one.

But that's a good point, just because a country says that they're something doesn't really mean that they are. North Korea claims to be both democratic and a republic, but in reality people don't vote so it's not really either. In China, and in the USSR, there were bits of democracy, so those titles are a stretch, but not like North Korea's outright lie. Also, USSR wasn't ever really socialist, but communist. It should've been named the USCR.

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10TylerDurden(367 comments)posted 4 years, 10 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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