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We, the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA), are enthused to announce the arrival of our biweekly op-ed. In this column, we will discuss the history of leftism, explore the wide spectrum of leftist theory, explain contemporary policy ideas and also promote the open student programming we have planned throughout the semester.

However, for our first column, we’re going to make the case for why you should consider joining early on in the semester, starting with a series of questions. Are you someone with vaguely progressive views? Do you have a constant dread about the looming threat of climate change? Do you not want to get out of bed after reading the news? Do you wish you could do something, anything, to change the direction this country is going? Do you just want to pick up some useful skills? Do you want to read new material that challenges your worldview?

If any of these questions resonate with you, you will find something enriching within our club. While YDSA is a student-tailored chapter of the national organization Democratic Socialists of America, we maintain full autonomy, and the direction of our club is decided by its members. As such, every YDSA chapter at campuses all over America has its own unique flavor of leftism and collective goals. And even within each chapter, a vast field of beliefs exists. Within our own UTK YDSA chapter, almost every strain of leftist thought is represented by at least one of our many members, providing the nuanced discourse that we thrive from.

And despite these contrasts in our personal beliefs, we as a club are united in our conviction that America needs a leftist movement to combat the unique moral threats our generation faces. On our club level, we work to empower our members with practical skills courses—some of the many skills we hope to cover this semester include self-defense, sewing and gun safety. This coming Thursday, September 19th, we will have a guest speaker from Planned Parenthood coming to discuss prophylactic usage, and we’ll be giving out free condoms and dental dams. This will be open to the public.

Besides personal enrichment, we also work to service our communities through different arms of praxis. We make connections with other local activist organizations, work as volunteers and gain insights into how capitalism has damaged our society on a local and environmental level. This semester, we will place a special emphasis on incorporating ecological consciousness in our work (and make a few native bee houses along the way).

And punctuating all of this is discussion of theory put on by our own members. People who are passionate about their favorite historical movements, ideologies or figures will be given platforms to speak and educate the rest of our club. Through this collective education and our community investment, we will produce club members who are prepared to deal with the moral, political and environmental struggles our country faces.

Every generation has their moral challenges, and every generation has people who have stood up to take on those responsibilities and those that have watched. We read history books about tragedies and the collective apathy that allowed them to occur. The next generation will inherit the world. Do we want them to wonder why we didn't do enough?

YDSA is an organization for leftist students at the University of Tennessee. If you have any questions, you can reach out to Helen Law at hlaw1@vols.utk.edu.

Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.

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