SDS Is Back! And Just in Time. . . .
I really appreciate your help with this. I’ve been corresponding with these SDS kids since the fall and meeting them on their campuses across the country. They’re accomplishing a lot.
If you have any questions or want to discuss the re-formation of SDS and MDS, please contact me.
Also, feel free to forward this message to anyone.
Love, and happy organizing,
I recently was hired as a part-time staff organizer with the national student anti-war formation SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), the 21st century remix of the well-known 60s organization by the same name — www.newsds.org.
Like many of you, I admit that I was initially skeptical about re-starting a group with the same name as an organization which had been dormant for nearly four decades.
Having worked with SDS now for a few months, and after having met and talked to students representing chapters from across the country, however, I can honestly say that I am very hopeful that this new formation is the real deal. With some support and patience, I think SDS can play an important role in helping to shift the political landscape at high school and college campuses across the United States, not only on issues of war and occupation, but extending eventually to struggles around immigration and free speech, budget cuts and racism.
There is a lot of energy in the air, and an ambitious plan is being laid out for the summer and in preparation for the fall semester. This includes participation in the 2007 US Social Forum in Atlanta, the SDS national convention in Detroit, and two separate week-long “Action Camps” which will bring trainers and facilitators from across the country to address the three main themes of the camps: skill trainings, history, and anti-oppression.
In order to make this happen, we will need to raise at least $15,000.
Email me at <email@example.com> if you have other ideas/suggestion and or would like to get involved in this important fundraising effort.
Thank you all in advance for taking the time to read through this and for whatever you might be able to do.
Although you would not know it from the corporate media, students and youth from across the country have been out organizing non-stop this past year on high school and college campuses against the war, for civil rights, against racism, and for free speech.
One of the main reasons for the huge surge in student activity, especially around the ongoing disaster in Iraq and the pending invasion of Iran, is the emergence of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).
Asked why they chose the old name, they say “Students for a Democratic Society says perfectly who we are.” They think they can learn something from SDS history of community and campus organizing, direct action politics, and anti-imperialist perspective. As of today, SDS counts almost 250 high school and college chapters, many of which are active. Right now they need our support!
For some background, please check out the April 16 cover story in the Nation: Christopher Phelps, “The New SDS.”
For report backs on SDS-related actions over the past year, see <www.newsds.org>.
For an early analysis of SDS and its politics by one of its members, see Doug Viehmeyer, “Steppin’ It Up: The New SDS,” Left Turn, 31 March 2007.
This summer, SDS is planning two major activities for which it needs immediate financial help: its second annual convention, to be held July 26-31 in Detroit, and a series of regional “Action Camps” to train chapter organizers. They hope that the convention will produce a national structure, now that the local and regional structures have begun to be built. The Action Camps are intended to build organizing skills, including strategic planning, developing campaigns, coalition-building, as well as address issues of racism, patriarchy, class privilege, and white supremacy.
But in order to accomplish this, it will take financial contributions from all of us. Along with the huge costs of organizing a national convention and a series of organizing trainings, they hired a part-time convention coordinator to help the Detroit organizing committee and the camp coordinators. Both the convention and the camps will entail considerable physical expenses, including travel, food, and housing for the students. All money raised will go towards these summer activities.
Please help! To start us off, former SDS’er Mark Rudd has pledged the first $1,000 and Michael Albert of Z Magazine/ZNet has pledged another $1,000 once the fund-raising hits the $9,000 mark.
In all, SDS hopes to raise in the neighborhood of $20,000 over the next two months. Please pitch in and give whatever you can. And encourage others to do the same. The original SDS of the 1960s only grew to be so big with the generous support of those who wanted to see a strong and vibrant student anti-war movement.
Please send tax-deductible contributions to:
Alliance of Community Trainers
P.O. Box 161270
Austin, TX 78716
please put in memo line: “SDS”
If you have a paypal account, you can make non-deductible online contributions at <www.newsds.org> — look for the “donate” icon on the right side of the page.
Thank you in advance,
Students for a Democratic Society. May 2007