we the people have had enough. we, people, want racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, and all institutionalised hatred to end. we, some people of dartmouth, want solidarity not segregation. we, the people, don’t talk to each other enough, don’t communicate, don’t care, don’t congregate enough. so we’re doing something about it. The People’s Coalition has re-formed.
as the newness of this paper of progressive new(s) attests, there exists a dearth of progressive communication on the dartmouth campus. among the 171 COSO (Council on Student Organizations) recognised clubs on campus, there exist such clubs as the Women of Color Collective; Students for Justice in Palestine; Dartmouth Ecovores; the Rockapellas; NAACP; Atheists, Humanists, & Agnostics; Gender Sexuality XYZ; ABLE (Access by Leadership and Equality); and the Dartmouth Black Legal Organization, according to the COSO website. i don’t assume or assert that all members of these groups identify as progressive, but these groups do hold discussions, take actions, or advocate for causes that oppose hegemony, whether that be the hegemony of white supremacy, ableism, patriarchy, religious intolerance, heterosexism, or environmental injustice. it thus seems that progressives do exist at dartmouth.
yet, each year at the career fair large financial firms occupy a huge proportion of the booths. yet, economics remains the most popular major with government in succession. as before, i don’t claim that there exist no economics majors, no government majors, and no members of financial firms who identify as progressive. i do, however, insinuate that though progressives exist at dartmouth, there also exists pressure to preserve the status quo – that is, to be conservative (in a classical sense).
if to be conservative is to wish maintenance of the status quo, the established systems of power, the fair question “what is it to be progressive?” arises. it is to wish to upset the status quo and move society forward. this forward direction, according to progressive thought, is to increase socioeconomic equity, to cultivate popular welfare (in a literal sense), and to promote true democracy. true democracy requires the whole population involved in its government, necessitating education, critical thought, physical wellbeing, and safety – linking the promotion of democracy to other progressive ideals.
as stated and defined above, conservatism is a loud voice on this campus. in my own experience, progressive groups, such as those mentioned earlier, only rarely interact. political discussion far more often takes place in a conservative-libertarian-Democrat framework than in an anarchist-marxist-foucauldian one. conversations return to how much power government should have in terms of gay marriage, government bailouts, affirmative action, and similarly within-the-system topics. only with a small group of people have i been able to debate the relative merits of radicalism and liberalism, of pacifist resistance, of the colonialism of print. mourning the lack of nuanced progressive discussion, communication, dialogue, and collaboration, The People’s Coalition has re-formed.
according to its Statement of Principles, The People’s Coalition maintains the following mission:
1. To help develop a more organized, cohesive presence of progressive thought and activism at Dartmouth and beyond.
2. To help build alliances among progressive individuals and groups on campus who are currently disconnected, marginalized, and alienated.
3. To provide a regular forum for building consciousness and solidarity, and for strengthening critical thought and theory.
4. To provide a network and foundation for organizing around the urgent problems of our day.
the Coalition is open to the participation of any individual or group that is generally aligned with the following statement:
Individually and collectively, we are committed to the establishment of a more just society based on the ideals of democracy and environmental sustainability. We accept the world’s troubles as our own, and respect the following principles:
1. Racism, sexism, heterosexism, and other hatreds are evils that we must fight wherever they exist.
2. Imperialism is a leading source of death and suffering throughout the world. We oppose militarism and war, and are committed to the right of every people to self-determination and peace.
3. We support workers’ struggles for dignity, fair pay, fair benefits, and safe working conditions, and oppose all policies, institutions, and organizations that propagate economic injustice. As the gap between the rich and the poor widens, we are committed to policies that redistribute wealth and resources in pursuit of a more equitable society.
4. We support immigrant rights and believe that every human being—regardless of race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity—has a right to participate in the political process.
5. We are committed to halting all anti-democratic and ecologically destructive practices and ensuring that our world remains safe, fertile, and beautiful for generations to come.
as solidarity among both progressive individuals and groups remains minimal, The People’s Coalition, though still forming its upcoming direction, seeks to increase that solidarity, amplifying the perception of progressive voice on campus.
~ by anna winham