Pitt socialist, Marxist clubs express political beliefs, talk midterm elections


Ethan Shulman | Staff Photographer

A copy of Liberation: The Newspaper of the Party for Socialism and Liberation hangs in Posvar Hall.

By Allison Radziwon, Assistant News Editor

For Matthew Dorrycott, president of the Young Democratic Socialists of America at Pitt, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s stance opposing fracking in his debate against Dr. Mehmet Oz was “disappointing.” 

“While I realize that he has to appeal to a certain voter base given that PA is a very big energy-driven state, it felt like he was very unprepared for the question and had to shill out a little, which is the unfortunate reality for a lot of Democrat politicians,” Dorrycott, a senior computer engineering major, said. “It does not change my stance on him as a Senate candidate, and I still fully endorse him over Dr. Oz.” 

With the upcoming midterm election on Nov. 8, students who do not identify with either the Democratic or Republican parties shared their political beliefs and thoughts on midterm candidates. Along with the Young Democratic Socialists of America, members of the Student Marxists of Pittsburgh also expressed their thoughts. 

Dorrycott said he will vote for Fetterman because of workers rights, and Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is the Democratic candidate for governor, because of his pro-choice policies. 

“Fetterman has been really good on workers’ rights and utilization of efforts. I heard he came out to UPMC during the summer to the workers that were unionizing, and that’s great,” Dorrycott said. “And with Shapiro, we could be facing a major setback on women’s reproductive rights … because Doug Mastriano would want to completely criminalize abortion.” 

Corbin Canterbury, president of Student Marxists of Pittsburgh, said capitalism exploits the working class. According to Britannica, Marxism is an economic philosophy, developed by Karl Marx, that discusses the effects of capitalism on labor and argues for a worker revolution to overturn capitalism in favor of communism. 

“We think living under capitalism is something that doesn’t serve everyone in society. We think capitalism has inherent and basically irremovable contradictions that hold back society. And I think across the board, make your life much harder than it should be,” Canterbury, a senior history major, said. “We live in a system that exists to exploit us and to exploit our labor and our lives essentially. And, instead of just rolling over and accepting that we want to organize and fight back to make something better.”

Michael Bracken, vice president of Student Marxists of Pittsburgh, said the club’s goals include promoting Marxism on campus. He also said they welcome anyone with “leftist ideas.” 

“Our main objectives are to discuss and promote not only Marxist ideas and theory on campus, but also to create links with the labor movement in Pittsburgh more broadly, which has been a major objective of ours,” Bracken, a senior history and political science major, said. 

Dorrycott said socialism is the act of using economics for social reform, and that the capitalist system isn’t fair for the working class. 

“There’s a myth that you can work to get success, but in reality, it’s all just luck. There’s no such thing as a meritocracy, but that’s what most people believe,” Dorrycott said. “But if the working class is able to come together and produce change and create the proper organization … the working class can create opportunities for themselves and provide a better organization of society for social issues.”

Bracken and Canterbury said they don’t support any specific candidates in the midterm election because the country does not have a “proper” political party that supports the working class. 

Bracken added that he wants workers to utilize their right to vote, but it’s hard to find a candidate to support in the current election. 

“It’s not that as Marxists that we don’t want people to vote, but we want to give people something worth voting for, which in the current political landscape is difficult to find,” Bracken said. “If a candidate were to break from the Democratic or Republican party as an advocate for a socialist program … that would represent a really radical opportunity in American politics. But I think in order to accomplish something like that … you first need to build the foundations of an independent working class party.” 

Canterbury also said he believes in the possibility of a proper working class political party in the future. 

“We have the largest working class mobilization of people, you know, in our modern generation, so to say that there’s no basis for a new party to come would be ridiculous, I’d say, because the energy is right there,” Canterbury said. “It’s just a matter of directing it into the right place and not letting it fizzle out or be co-opted.”