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Elana Lane

What do a public school teacher, a union organizer, and a minister have in common? They’re all ways you can describe Joel Richards, Boston DSA’s endorsed candidate for District 4 on the Boston City Council. Joel is one of twelve candidates endorsed this cycle by Boston DSA, joining incumbents and challengers across the Boston area in an ambitious bid to form the country’s first modern socialist majority on a city council in Somerville and, for the first time ever, elect two socialists to Boston’s city council. 

So when Joel’s campaign asked for canvassers last weekend to help get out the vote before Tuesday’s preliminary elections, YDSA Northeastern kicked into action. Over 30 members, along with dozens from Boston University’s, Harvard’s, and Tufts’ YDSAs, headed to Dorchester to hit the streets. Joined by members of Boston DSA and the Boston Teachers Union, one longtime DSA member called the 80-strong contingent “the largest Boston DSA canvass [he’d] ever seen”. By the end of the shift, over 2,300 doors were knocked and dozens of new YDSA members had their first canvassing experience under their belt.

“Canvassing isn’t just about the candidate for us”, said Jordan Buchman, chair of YDSA Northeastern, “Of course Joel is incredible, but we’re part of DSA and we take that very seriously. So when we found out that one of our candidates needed some help before the preliminary election, that was all we needed to hear”. The other YDSA chapters participating in the canvass also demonstrated their commitment to the greater socialist project, turning out members even though they aren’t in District 4 or Boston altogether. 

In more ways than one, the Boston socialist movement showed its incredible strength at Saturday’s canvass. For new YDSA members, it was an intimate learning experience of local politics. For returning members, it was a promising glimpse into the future of mass socialist politics in Boston. 

Joel Richards is one of 11 candidates running to represent District 4, an area comprising parts of Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, and Mattapan. District 4’s city council seat was vacated by its current representative, Andrea Campbell, when she launched her Boston mayoral campaign. With so many candidates to choose from, District 4’s ballot is as confusing as it is overwhelming. But for Boston socialists, the choice is clear: vote Joel Richards!