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The Politics Society’s New Vision of Democratic Education Starts Now: Politics 101

Committee members from the Politics Society talk about their decision to make education and debate central to their mission in 2023. First stop: Politics 101, 6pm on September 26.

As you may have seen across our social media, this year KCL’s Politics Society has been rebranded to espouse wider and more ambitious goals than ever before. Whilst we will continue to build on the society’s long-standing traditions – our student-led magazine The Dialogue, our legendary Winter and Spring balls and our renowned speaker talks – the aim is now to become an exciting political hub for all. As useful and insightful as an academic talk can be, politics is about participation before anything else, about having a voice and forming opinions. This year this is going to be done by and for students. 

This is exactly how we envision the society’s purpose: giving a platform for students to share, form and debate diverse political issues, expand their political exposure and increase student participation through collaborations with societies from across the ideological spectrum. The Politics Society will guide you along your student journey, whether you are a newly arrived Fresher or a PhD student. From our Freshers’ Launch Party and our Brussels trip, to finding your dream job with the help of our very own professional mentorship scheme, we aim to combine enjoyment and opportunity for our members. This mission starts now, with some political education (and some drinks) during our Politics 101 event on September 26.

Have you ever had a friend who just won’t stop talking about politics? Ever wondered whether they’re talking nonsense? The Politics 101 is the best chance that you’ll have to tell them exactly why they’re wrong.

We all become politicised at different times and for different reasons. Between King’s thirty thousand students, the potential power of the student voice is undeniable, but it often lacks a productive means of expression. This year the Politics Society aims to provide a central, non-partisan hub where no question is deemed stupid and no person unwelcome. Political education is a means of pooling the myriad of experience at King’s to create a vibrant, evolving mosaic. Education is at the beating heart of this year’s agenda.

Politics 101 aims to provide a foundational proficiency in the field, giving all the basic skills to enable clarity, conversations and cooperation. The 101 will cover the very basics of Politics: how it directly affects you, different ideologies and government structures, before our charismatic academic Keith Smith covers his specialty of international politics. 

We learn as much (if not more) through a conversation as through an hour in a stuffy lecture theatre. Finding a political identity can be challenging and it’s often formed not so much by what we do like but by what we don’t. So come along and speak to the 13 societies that we have coming, and connect with politics in whichever way you see fit. No two individuals have ever been entirely aligned on political values, but each opinion is as important as the next. Come and find yours at the 101.

The Politics 101 is a great opportunity to widen political engagement at KCL. A major barrier to people becoming involved in politics is a lack of understanding about the ways politics is conducted. This can breeds an initial fear about participating in the greatest debates. This, of course, supports those who would rather us pay less attention to politics; those whose interests are already served; those who are enjoying the status-quo. But this is a privileged minority. For our democracy to be a healthy, vibrant and flourishing political system we must be able to conduct a broad and informed debate so that all voices are heard and all people are represented. This is how change really happens. Sometimes it’s a radical leap forward, sometimes a baby step towards a greater goal. To influence this process, involvement is crucial. As MyLife-MySay famously espouses: “if you don’t do politics, politics will do you”.

This is why KCL Politics has endeavoured to get representatives from across the King’s kaleidoscope of ideological groups. These young political leaders working alongside each other for a night in order to support our collective democratic spirit. Many of these leaders have been campaigners from very young, have held youth offices and between them must have posted thousands of leaflets. At one stage the sheer size of politics must have frightened them, but they know that you aren’t heard unless you’re in the room where it happens. So don’t throw away your shot – the world of politics is waiting for you.

Inclusivity is at the core of the Politics Society. It forms the mission of our student-led organisation and shapes who we are as community leaders. Whether in a small or big way, we can all impact the world we inhabit. Without inclusivity, politics cannot function as different perspectives are integral to catalysing change. They enable individuals or groups to step outside of themselves and collaborate with the people around them. However, we recognise that inclusivity can only occur when the community feels empowered and seen. 

The Politics Society remains committed to being for everyone. Whether you are a new member, a returning member or part of the wider King’s community – we are excited to have you here. Therefore, 101 will begin the academic year by putting everyone on the same page by explaining the crucial political foundations of politics. We strive to dismantle the notion that political engagement or a passion for politics demands extensive knowledge, excessive time or an opinion about everything. 

The Politics Society is here to educate and inspire, this year more than ever before. We value our members for their curiosity and passion, not for memorising the US Constitution or naming every world leader. Bring your ideas, bring your questions and bring your friends. There are no expectations – only the hope that you will leave our events feeling more empowered and emboldened. 

To receive regular updates on KCL Politics Society and their events, follow them on Instagram @kclpolitics. The Politics 101 event will be held on the 26 September 2023, at 6pm in The Exchange, Bush House.

By Lisa Lefebvre-Risso (President), Josh Robinson (Vice-President), Ben Evans (Social Secretary) and Govhar Dadashova (Events Officer)

KCL Politics Society

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