Solidarity ND, the first official democratic socialist club on campus, held its inaugural general meeting over Zoom on Saturday with just under 50 students in attendance. The club seeks to teach members and the campus community about democratic socialism as well as engage students in activism and political organizing. Granted SAO approval earlier this semester, Solidarity is led by an interim team that will be succeeded in the fall semester by a Central Committee (elected by the entire club). The club’s constitution defines the purpose of the club and details the election and powers of the officers.
Saturday’s meeting, led by freshman Tianle Zhang and juniors Duncan Donahue and Ashton Weber, focused on orienting new members to the club and to each other. After a brief welcome, members were split into breakout rooms to meet one another and discuss expectations for the club. This was followed by a brief introduction to democratic socialism and further explanation of the club structure and vision.
Donahue acknowledged that having official club status means the club cannot officially hold opinions on certain social issues that contradict teachings of the Catholic Church (per the University’s Student Activities Policies), although those opinions are sometimes part of democratic socialist ideologies. However, the club can still facilitate discussion on those issues.
Solidarity plans to host a teach-in on May 1st (May Day; celebration of labor and workers) with various faculty members on topics of socialism and organized labor; the event will take place at 2 pm on Library Lawn. Club leaders are looking for volunteers to facilitate the event.
The club will also hold a book club this upcoming summer for its members, and asked for book suggestions at the meeting.
Following the meeting, Donahue and Zhang gave additional comments to The Irish Worker. Zhang expressed excitement for the incoming class of 2025, especially the fact that the club would be able to provide structure to left-wing student organizing beyond social media sites such as Twitter.
“I’m thrilled with the amount of energy that we saw today,” Donahue told the Worker. “SAO had doubts about [whether the club could sustain itself], but we showed that Solidarity has life behind it and will be a part of Notre Dame’s political landscape for years to come.”