Decline In Membership May Doom Young Dems
The Harvard-Radcliffe Young Democrats are in danger of dying out. The number of paid memberships has decreased from 500 to 250 over the past year, and of those about four are active, according to treasurer Lance R. Rodgers '71. Only 20 members showed up for a club-sponsored election night party held Tuesday "to celebrate a Democratic defeat."
The club is not yet on the point of financial collapse, Rodgers said, "but when a speaker like Julian Bond charges $1500 for a lecture, and we only have $800 in the treasury, then, of course, our options for programs are severely limited."
President Harry R. Katz '69 attributed the lack of enthusiasm to the events at Chicago last summer and the club's endorsement of Hubert H. Humphrey last month. The recent victory of Richard M. Nixon, he added, "could only further discourage students from becoming involved in today's American political system."
In an attempt to revive interest in the club, Katz said he is leading a movement to change the constitution and break with the national organization. Such a break would give the club much greater freedom in deciding policies, Katz said. "We could then make up our mind, and if the national organization doesn't like it, then that will be just tough for them."
There is no great distinction between working to reform the party from within or from the outside, Katz said. "Why get hung up with a little detail like that?"
"The people who rejected the old politics to join the McCarthy movement can not rejoin the parties of Humphrey and Nixon, and instead of joining the Chamber of Commerce or the Young Dems, they are working for progressive issue-oriented groups like the Citizens for Participation Politics," said David R. Williams '72, president of the CPP and a member of the Young Dems.