Why I joined DSA, or, learning without pressure

by M. Colleen McDaniel

Colleen McDaniel

As a full-time graduate student at Wayne State, it’s often difficult to find the time to be involved in the community of Detroit. Between taking classes, conducting research, and teaching as a graduate assistant, it has been especially challenging to ensure time and energy for just making friends, much less being involved in activism and organizing. I had not previously been involved in socialist organizations, although I had been involved with activism in my undergraduate career.

In Fall 2017, I attended the first DSA Socialist Reading Group, where we read “The ABCs of Socialism.” Reading group became a regular bi-weekly activity for me because it was a guaranteed time in my week that I could meet with like-minded people to discuss issues that matter to me. I have had the opportunity to lead conversations, select books, and help decide which topics to read about.

Recently, I have also become involved in the Socialist Night School. I am fully aware of how ridiculous it sounds that I would be in class all day and then willingly go to class again at night or that as a graduate student I would read every night and then keep reading during the weekends for reading group. As a young professional woman, it is easy to get bogged down by work, socializing, and all that is going on in the world. However, the reading group and night school are multi-purpose for me. They have become spaces for me to make friends that I may not have otherwise had the chance to meet, to learn without pressure, to find my own voice, and to listen to the experiences of others within the Detroit community.