Winthrop’s Student Socialist Union (SSU) took their energy and passion for their cause off-campus and to the streets of Charlotte. On Jan. 26, group members met with various other activist groups to protest Western intervention in Syria and Iran and the use of drones.
For one SSU member, this was his first protest.
“Seeing the different groups was interesting,” said Daniel Srokis, a senior composition major. “They were very passionate, very dedicated to what they were protesting.”
Even though the city of Charlotte required the protesters to have a permit for their megaphone, SSU president and senior political science major Judson Abraham said that he does not believe in the need to tell the police that the group was planning to have a protest.
Despite the fact that the protestors were marching without the required permits that the city of Charlotte requires, the group members were careful to take precautions.
“SSU always takes precautions to ensure the safety of our members when going to protests,” Abraham said. “Every time you go to a protest you need to understand you’re taking a risk because you don’t know how the police will react.”
Abraham said that the police response was fairly typical for Charlotte. The police were more lenient in the busier parts of Charlotte but would become more active in the less active parts of Charlotte.
“Everyone should feel safe when they come to an SSU event,” Abraham said. “I’ve been
through the drill a few times so I kind of know what to expect.”
While the group marching through Charlotte spoke out against many causes, one of the main concerns was the United States’ involvement in other countries.
“We have the right stance on solidarity with people who are being oppressed by the U.S., who is incompetent with their government,” Abraham said in reference to Syria specifically. “We can’t rely on liberal democrats like Obama.”
SSU members aren’t stopping at the protest that took place a couple of weeks ago. Abraham said that the group wants to continue building a movement with the Charlotte Hornet’s Nest, an activist group that was also present during the protest, which might include a Mayday protest. “We’re going to actively continue to criticize Obama for his aggressive foreign policy,” said Abraham. “We need to have a radical and independent group like us to emphasize these issues.”
Strokis said that many people have a misconception of the term “socialism” and it should not be confused with fascism. “We’re not anywhere close on the political spectrum,” said Strokis. “The things that we stand for are social and environmental justice.”