National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre issued a warning to the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday: young socialists are taking over the country.
That call was a boon to the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist organization in the United States, the group said. It helped boost membership for the comparatively small group throughout the day.
“The joins today were 3x that of an average day,” Lawrence Dreyfuss, DSA program associate told The Daily Beast as Thursday evening. By Friday, he said that DSA had more than 100 sign-ups on Thursday and that the average joins per day is about 32.
LaPierre ended up drawing attention to the organization, which is much smaller than his own. By the end of 2017, DSA had at least 32,000 members nationwide, while the NRA boasted around 5 million.
Still, LaPierre devoted a portion of his speech to their presence, particularly focusing on the Young Democratic Socialists of America, which organizes on college campuses.
“On college campuses, The Communist Manifesto is one of the most frequently assigned texts. Karl Marx is the most assigned economist,” LaPierre said. “And there are now over 100 chapters of Young Democratic Socialists of America at many universities, and students are even earning academic credit for promoting socialist causes.”
YDSA used the moment to recruit new members and blasted LaPierre for his remarks.
“The blood on their hands from the Parkland massacre isn’t even dry, and the NRA is already focused on creating a new 'red scare' to incite a public frenzy and sell more guns,” Michelle Fisher, National Co-Chair, of YDSA said in a statement.
“The real red scare is the tide of blood the NRA and their lapdogs in Congress have brought to our schools,” she continued. “DSA is growing because people across the country have had enough of corrupt politicians sacrificing the lives of children for the NRA’s freedom to profit. They buy their power, we build ours.”