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Bates democrats and republicans continue activism

bates demsTwo of the most well-known and active clubs on campus, also happen to be each other’s biggest competition, the Bates Democrats and the Bates Republicans. Both clubs assumed center stage in November as they fiercely promoted their respective parties during the 2012 presidential election. Now that the election is over, what will these two clubs set their sights on next?

Both clubs wish to continue recruiting new members and advertising their party’s values across campus. The question is: Whose cause are you willing to support?

Today, the majority of institutions of higher education embrace liberal principles and Bates College is no exception. So where does that leave conservative Batesies? It appears in the minority. It is no coincidence that senior James Mulholland, president of the Bates Republicans, urges all students who identify themselves as Republican to assume activist roles on campus.

“There is a silent group of students here at Bates of conservatives who are either too uncomfortable to speak their minds or didn’t know there was an outlet where they could meet with like-minded individuals,” said Mulholland. My job and the Republican Club’s is to provide students with that forum and to help them develop confidence in their beliefs and comfort in defending them in class and the dormitory.”

Mulholland is eager to add dedicated and passionate Republicans to his club’s cause. That is not to suggest that the Bates Republicans do not already have a strong following. The Bates Republicans currently have 100 students subscribed to their list-serve, of whom 20 are active members. That being said, one of the club’s main goals this semester is to recruit at least 25 new members.

Are you a Conservative student and want to help the Bates Republicans meet their goal? Email Mulholland at  jmulhol2@bates.edu to be added to the Bates Republicans list-serve.

Representing the other side of the political spectrum on campus is the Bates Democrats. Like the Bates Republicans, they stress advocacy and membership. During the election season, the Bates Democrats had around 40 active members. Since the election, they have had one meeting – 25 members attended.

This semester the Bates Democrats are planning to concentrate on one key issue in particular: workers’ rights.

“Our main goal is going to be focused on workers’ rights, especially in regards to sweatshops that huge companies use to make their products. We want Bates to be conscious about where they buy uniforms, clothing from the bookstore, etc., to avoid supporting companies that use swweatshops that violate workers’ rights (such as being utterly underpaid and working in unsafe, hazardous conditions),” said Eliza Kaplan ’15, president of the Bates Democrats.

The club is in the process of deciding on the best way to achieve this goal. Therefore, there is still time for interested students to have a say in the Bates Democrats’ course of action this semester. New members can join by attending the Bates Democrats meetings on Monday nights at 8 PM in Pgill 116.

Another point worth mentioning for both of these clubs is their willingness and ability to host numerous activities each semester for interested students. For instance, this past Sunday (January 20th), the Bates Democrats presented a screening of the documentary, The Corporation (2003).

Equally impressive is both groups’ ability to draw relevant speakers to campus. The Bates Republicans are currently in contact with several speakers who they hope to bring to campus this spring. The Bates Democrats are also planning to bring a speaker to Bates either during this semester or sometime during short term.

It is undeniable that both of these clubs, however different they may be, continue to be two of the most prominent student organizations on the Bates College campus. If you are interested in politics, either one of these clubs can provide the opportunity to explore and develop political engagement.

Both clubs request at least minimal consideration from students. As demonstrated by the following comment from Mulholland.

“[The Bates Republicans] would only ask that the community as a whole would give some thought to what our group stands for. It may make sense to people who are searching for their own answers about what they believe are the direction that politics should take today. Don’t be so quick to dismiss us and really listen to what we have to say,” said Mulholland.

Whether you voted for Obama or Romney, Bates offers opportunities for you to hone and express your political opinions. Despite the end of the presidential election, what many people consider the political highlight of the past four years, it appears neither the Bates Democrats nor the Bates Republicans are slowing down anytime soon.

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