This is the fifth installment of Chapter Reports from Spring of 2022. This group features labor and housing updates from UC Santa Barbara, Valencia College and Purdue. They have been lightly edited for clarity.
Taylor Clark, UC Santa Barbara
Like many chapters across the nation, UCSB YDSA has faced stagnation and burnout in the face of both the global pandemic and the associated plague of “Zoom university.” However, as classes finally return to fully in-person this Spring, we are excited to get back in the trenches and organize around one of the most pertinent issues of our day – housing. As you may or may not have heard, the UC Santa Barbara administration has recently announced its planned construction of America’s most advanced maximum security prison – known to many as Munger Hall. This nightmare-hellscape – complete with “artificial” windows and solitary confinement-sized dorms – is the University’s latest money saving scheme, designed to prioritize billionaire money and “efficiency” over student sanity. UCSB socialists, known for our love of human rights and vitamin D, have begun organizing to stop it.
Milo Keogh, Valencia College
Valencia College YDSA is a new and small chapter that is still struggling to establish itself. The Orlando area has seen multiple Starbucks shops file for unionization or begin the process of organizing. VC YDSA is in the process of forming a campaign to assist these workers as they fight for a union. By collaborating with the workers at these locations, organizing sip-ins and raising community solidarity, we hope to assist this organizing effort. We have learned how to help workers organize, make contacts in our community, and how to counter union-busting tactics. This campaign has developed lifelong socialist organizers by bringing students into contact with the labor movement and the class struggle.
Slater, Purdue University
Purdue YDSA is the only socialist organization operating on our conservative campus. It is also one of the largest political organizations at Purdue. The current university president is the former Republican governor of Indiana. Our chapter is currently in the early stages of organizing around grad student worker’s rights. Our chapter is fortunate to have labor leader alumni to help guide us in this endeavor. Our former co-chair Jia was involved in Columbia’s grad student union movement this year — a movement that has seen great success and major wins. Our chapter developed those leaders and now reaps the benefits of their expertise.