By Dorina S.

Previously known as Campus Choice and the group behind the Coca Cola Referendum, the newly named McMaster Students for Social Justice (MSSJ) OPIRG working group is no stranger to the university community.

Whether being praised for their successful rally to gather support for the Local 2 Service Employees International Union or being dubbed Socialists by the campus media, there is no doubt that this group is raising important and controversial issues.

Kerem Can Engin and Alex Ramirez, the founders, believe that we have “a very apathetic student population” at McMaster University and has made it MSSJ’s main objective to involve more students in social and political issues on campus and beyond. His most memorable moment of achieving this goal was getting the opportunity to talk to janitorial staff, most of who attended the organized rally for service employees. Speeches were given and a petition was signed to help these invaluable workers to inform the McMaster community about their struggles in obtaining a fair contract at the bargaining table.

After the G20 conference held in Toronto, the McMaster Students for Social Justice group held a discussion forum on the way protests were handled during this international event. MSSJ may have been criticized for asking the question “Is Canada a police state?” but Kerem makes a convincing argument that “you have to ask controversial questions to get conversations started.”

Aside from critically examining the actions of corporations and the Canadian government, Kerem and his team hope to tackle more issues in the future. Although social justice activities can be viewed negatively by the campus press sometimes, this group is showing no signs of slowing down. With an upcoming discussion forum on the Canadian census debate on November 9th and a high possibility of the former British MP George Galloway giving a talk at McMaster, MSSJ is actively engaging the student body in relevant and exciting political issues.

In the future, the group will also be screening Oliver Stone’s South of the Border film on the recent political movements in Latin America. In order to make sure you don’t miss any of these informative and eye-opening events, or if you wish to get involved in social justice, email or find them on Facebook.