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Higher Education Watch
A New Kind of Campus Left?

Liberal pundits are busily debating whether their party needs to move further to the left on economic issues to counter right-wing populism. But among the young generation of future Democratic leaders, this issue seems to be more or less settled. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on the rise of Bernie-inspired socialist student groups that are growing at a remarkable pace on campuses across the country:

Campus socialist groups are on the rise. Many organizers have pointed to the election of Donald J. Trump as a reason, as well as the numerous Bernie Sanders supporters looking for a home after the U.S. senator’s failed presidential campaign. […]

The Young Democratic Socialists are the student branch of Democratic Socialists of America, a group that’s grown from 5,000 members to more than 18,000 members in the last year.

Interestingly, some of the young socialists seem to be eschewing the kind of exhausting identity politics that the campus Left is known for. One student quoted in the article said that it is a higher priority “to have workers win a $15 minimum wage than it is to, maybe, change the name of a building to someone else’s name.” This will be fodder for many internecine battles: Think Jacobin vs. Salon.

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  • QET

    A new kind? Yes, if by that you mean “what’s old is new again.” I know at least one 65 year-old liberal who will smile to see the kids return to the Leftism of their grandfathers and great-grandfathers.

    • Makaden

      Hey! I think I know that same 65-year-old liberal! 🙂

    • Proverbs1618

      Are we talking about Comrade FriendlyGoat?

      • QET

        Ha, no, I was referring to an old friend of mine.

  • D4x

    The $15 minimum wage is a major project for the SEIU and Working Families Party. Good to know they are proud to be real socialists, without the Identity Politics of their current host, still called the Democratic Party. So confusing to the Blue Dogs, who used to be the fiscal conservatives of the Dems, not wanted since 2008…

  • Beauceron

    “Interestingly, some of the young socialists seem to be eschewing the kind of exhausting identity politics that the campus Left is known for. One student quoted in the article said that it is a higher priority “to have workers win a $15 minimum wage than it is to, maybe, change the name of a building to someone else’s name.” ”

    I hardly think, based on that thin evidence, you can say the Left is eschewing identity politics.

    There has been no slow-down of the race-driven politics on campus. I would remind you that the “Bernie Wing” put up Keith Ellison– a man who, for at least for a good portion of his adult life, believed that white people are not even human– as their DNC Chair candidate.
    I think, with the rise of the reactionary Alt-Right, certain corners of the Left may worry they’ve gone too far with their racism. But they have not changed course– and besides, their movement is made up largely of people whose bread and butter is race hustling. There’s way too much money and special privileges to be handed out to give up on the racial grievance gravy train. I suspect their may be some white socialists who wish their “allies” who are People of Color would give it a rest, but that is going to blow up in their faces.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Socialism’s most recent failure is Venezuela. In less than 20 years, they went from wealthiest nation in south america, to a starving, criminal, hellhole, sitting on the largest oil reserves in the world. Until Socialists come up with a reason why Socialism never works (some very serious and murderous people have tried to make it work, and failed despite all the bloodshed.), they have to be considered incapable of reasoning.

    • ljgude

      I think ex communist David Horowitz nailed when he said they are a type of millennial cult. When the loudly claimed workers paradise or global meltdown fails to occur they don’t reason that the theory is wrong. Instead they feel relieved that they no longer have to defend the failure and go right back to preparing for the bright shiny paradise to come. Bill Clinton and Tony Blair tried to respond rationally to Reagan and Thatcher, but the left rejected them and elected a leftist idealist with predictable consequences. Now they are doubling down again on the pure ideology some of them already happy to stop defending identity politics. It is a Brand New Day! Any fool can see The West will soon be Red. I had the privilege of watching Mugabe do to Zimbabwe what Chavez has since done to Venezuela and thought it a hard act to follow. Nope, they will go on doing it as long as they are allowed to.

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