Alex Smith (’24), a North Korean exchange student, has never felt more villainized than during the Democracy Day festivities on Tuesday: “All I wanted to do was go to class and yet Stanford feels the need to push this political propaganda in all of our faces… it’s just so insensitive.” Alex was not alone in his distress. Students from authoritarian regimes around the world have come together to protest Democracy Day and its encouragement of exclusionary ideals. Hundreds of chalk messages appearing all around campus in solidarity with students from autocratic countries have finally pushed Stanford admin over the edge. 

In light of the student erasure and marginalization brought up from advocates against Democracy Day, the Haas Center has announced a plan to extend the school holiday for an extra day in order to properly celebrate all worldly perspectives.

Autocracy Day 2023, held on Wednesday, November 8th, featured a packed agenda with a variety of opportunities, from participation in “Censorship for Beginners” workshops to one-on-one help with developing the skills needed to rig elections on a national scale. Many students, such as Sadie Manlipp (’27) felt enlightened by this new education on alternative political philosophies— “I’ve never really been interested in politics before, but then I saw the SCN Autocracy Day concert and was like ‘Whoa… I really wanna get involved in perpetuating gerrymandering all of a sudden.’”

In the spirit of autocracy day, Stanford decided that student votes and nominations in the search for a new president will no longer be counted. “Every vote matters, which is why they will all equally be thrown in the trash while we select the candidate we really wanted in the first place—Kevin McCarthy,” interim-president Richard Saller noted to Flipside.

Smith, proud of this legacy of his advocacy work at Stanford, already has big plans next year—to run for public office as part of the Bolshevik party.

After Autocracy Day’s shocking success, Stanford released a statement expressing their plan to move forward by combining the two into one day celebrating both political philosophies. They have already released next year’s theme: “Politics Day 2024: Perform Your Civic Duty or Be Punished, You Ungrateful Subjects.”

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