Students launch Irish Radical to foster left-wing dialogue
Peter McKenna | Friday, November 10, 2023
An independent, student-run publication called the Irish Radical launched Nov. 1 to provide a space for left-wing and progressive discourse and organization on campus.
According to its website, the Irish Radical publishes essays, poetry and other visual and artistic representations which embody the spirit of its manifesto.
“Despite the many progressive students, movements and organizations here at the tri-campus community, we noticed that there wasn’t a cohesive platform for left-leaning students,” the Irish Radical Committee wrote in a statement to The Observer. “We started the Irish Radical to address this gap in our campus discourse.”
The Radical’s roughly 1000-word manifesto quotes activists Assata Shakur and Dorothy Day, and it alludes to the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
“A spectre is haunting Notre Dame — the spectre of radicalism,” the manifesto says. “Catholics, of course, are no strangers to ghosts.”
The publication isn’t institutionally affiliated, according to the committee. Its costs come from housing the website irishradicalnd.com, which members of the Radical are currently paying out of their own pockets.
The Radical was created by members of SolidarityND, a club on campus for democratic socialists. A short-lived campus magazine active during the pandemic called the Irish Worker also inspired the Radical, the committee added.
The inspiration for the name of the publication comes from the Latin root of radical, “radix,” which means root.
“Radicalism for us means to grapple with things by the root,” the committee said. “We see crises surrounding us on every side — not just a crisis in culture, but also in labor, health, democracy, our environment and other aspects of life.”
Drawing from an oft-cited line from scripture that describes the Church, the Radical wants to be in but not of the world of Notre Dame, the committee explained.
“While we aim to work in Notre Dame’s progressive ecosystem as an active, productive forum, we also want to articulate utopian possibilities that extend beyond the horizon of what already exists here,” the Radical said. “As a big tent group, we abstain from painting a single vision of what change could look like, so the ideas in our pages will arise organically with the priorities of our readers and contributors.”
The Radical does not consider itself a club and does not have a president.
“We’re an informal group of students interested in publicizing leftist literature and media at Notre Dame,” the committee said. “We have an executive board and structure similar to other clubs, but roles and responsibilities are much more decentralized.”
Currently, the Radical displays an article on Palestine, a paper on crisis, a poem about gushers and several other pieces of writing.
“Large-scale publications will be released intermittently throughout the year, along with a more constant stream of articles aimed at disseminating time-sensitive or important news and other information,” according to the Radical’s website.
The publication’s logo is an arm of a leprechaun holding up a red rose, a symbol of socialism.