October 21, 2017

SDS 12th Annual National Convention - REGISTER NOW!

We are happy to announce that Students for a Democratic Society will be holding our twelfth National Convention in Santa Barbara, California on October 21st and 22nd.

This is an exciting opportunity to learn not only about the students' and people's struggles but how to get plugged in! Come and build connections with incredible activists from around the country, learn from engaging workshops and plenaries, and have a great time!

Registration is open now:






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September 21, 2017

SDS Charlottesville Statement

SDS National stands in full solidarity with the recent actions by anti-racist and anti-fascist forces in Charlottesville, Durham, Boston and all across the country that confronted gatherings of white supremacists and sought to smash the symbols of white nationalism in this country. We believe in zero tolerance for those who use hate speech to agitate violent sexist, racist and homophobic bigots into committing hate crimes. SDS believes that the way to defeat the right wing in the streets, in our communities and in our institutions is through mass action that confronts white supremacy, anti-LGBTQ hate, sexism and chauvinism no matter the form it takes.
Following the events in Charlottesville, a country-wide movement to remove Confederate symbols has gained strength and expanded to new areas. We believe that every confederate statue across the country should be torn down in the next few months. We also recognize that these statues are symbols of the systemic white supremacy that students and youths face in schools and campuses across the country. We call on the removal of monuments like the “Silent Sam” confederate statue at UNC Chapel Hill, Francis Eppes at Florida State University, the confederate soldier at Ole Miss, and the many other confederate symbols on college campuses including University of Georgia and University of Tennessee.
SDS has been a leader in the struggle against white supremacy and hate speech in schools from Florida to California. Tallahassee Students for a Democratic Society has been leading a struggle at Florida State University to remove the statue of a slave owner and confederate Francis Eppes on campus as well as to implement affirmative action measures to increase enrollment of students of color at the university. Additionally SDS chapters from Minnesota to Berkeley have taken militant action to confront the white nationalist and transphobic Milo Yiannopoulos as he attempted to spread hate at college campuses across the country. Chapters across the country took action earlier this summer to organize counter protests against the “March Against Sharia” that were called across the country by the anti muslim hate group ACT for America. In all cases it was demonstrated that by putting in the work to call for actions that seeks to mobilize and unite our communities we can drown out and drive out the forces of white supremacy, sexism and anti-LGBTQ hate with the power of the people.

White Supremacy, anti-LGBTQ hate, sexism and national chauvinism isn’t new in U.S. history, in-fact it lays at the very bedrock of America. However since Trump’s election we’ve entered a period where these groups and people feel emboldened to act more openly and more violently than in recent years. With the upsurge of the violent right we have also seen the people stand up and fight back. This upsurge of people has been inspiring and maps out the path that we need to continue to fight against white supremacy, bigotry and hate. Activists in Charlottesville, Boston, Durham and countless other cities have set an example we need to follow. We must continue to drown them out and assert a politics that seeks the liberation of all oppressed people and seeks to crush the movement of right wing hate in our communities and in the streets through mobilization and struggle. When we dare to struggle, we dare to win!

SDS Denounces Imperialist Sanctions!

Within the past several months, the United States has imposed an influx of fresh economic sanctions on four different countries in a fruitless attempt to shift the global economy in favor of the imperialist West. These sanctions came in two waves; the first aimed at Venezuela in response to the recent democratic election known as the ANC (National Constituent Assembly.) The second, referred to by US officials as the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” targets Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

Though each of these sanctions differ quite vastly in their specifications, the nature of their purpose can be generalized to some degree. With this legislature, the United States is doing all it can to hinder the economic and political influence of its major opposition. All four of these nations have a significant foothold in the global economy; Furthermore, each of these nations have made it clear through either government or military action that they are willing to combat western influence, albeit military, economic, or political.

The National Constituent Assembly of Venezuela was held to elect (via direct vote) an entirely new congress consisting of carefully defined sects of society, each with a pre-selected number of representatives proportional to that group’s presence within the Venezuelan population. Proposed by Venezuelan President Maduro, the initial goal of these fresh representatives is to re-draft the Venezuelan constitution to meet the needs of shifting global politics as well as to face the ever adapting foe that is Western imperialism. The United States, which has recently been centering much of its foreign political action and corruption around Latin America, has seen this desire to reconstruct as a direct threat to its economic interests.

Russia, Iran, and the DPRK each play a crucial role in the survival of many anti-imperialist nations. Each of these countries possess nuclear capabilities and have clearly demonstrated their oppositional mentality towards western influence, thus they hold a very significant presence within the global economy and military apparatus. Evidently, the United States wishes to demean this presence, with these new-founded sanctions meant to serve this purpose. Though these sanctions may seem like a far cry from violent conflict, they directly affect the economic and military functionality of the receiving nations. The newly appointed Russian UN representative, Vassily Nebenzia, whilst responding to the sanctions, highlighted the damaging nature of these international crimes, stating that “a fully-fledged trade war" has been declared on Russia.

SDS considers these sanctions unacceptable. We denounce the poor decisions made by our state representatives in an attempt to perpetuate and uphold the global imperialist system in which the US has played such a significant role. The US does not support Democracy, as has been made apparent through its actions against Venezuela. The Western state acts only out of economic and military interest, and is in-humanitarian in nature.

April 18, 2017

New SDS opposes Trump’s attacks on Syria!

On April 7th, President Trump approved a strike of 50 tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airbase near Homs, Syria’s third largest city. Syrian media sources reported that at least nine civilians were killed by the U.S. military strike, including four children. The national body of New Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) strongly condemns the Trump administration’s vicious attacks against the Syrian people, and vows to channel our anger into organized resistance through our 30+ member chapters and affiliated student organizations on campuses across the country.

The U.S. government claims their missile attacks against a sovereign country in the Middle East was punishment for a recent poison gas explosion in the town of Khan Sheikhoun that killed 70 people, which Trump blamed on the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). Corporate-owned media immediately began parroting these war-hungry claims, without any independent investigation, even though the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice just two months ago publicly boasted on NPR, “We were able to get the Syrian government to voluntarily and verifiably give up its chemical weapons stockpile [in 2014].” In Hillary Clinton’s first interview since her presidential election defeat, she also eagerly encouraged the U.S. military to bomb Syrian airfields mere hours before the attacks started.

The missile attacks cost the U.S. government $93.81 million, but added nearly $5 billion to the collective stock value of corporations that produce weaponry including Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. While Trump campaigned against U.S. intervention in Syria, his position as a billionaire politician with investments in Raytheon puts his interests directly at odds with the working people he claims to represent. The Trump administration’s hawkish military budget of $1.45 trillion, nearly half the total federal budget, is money robbed from crucial social programs like education and healthcare which face significant cutbacks. Trump’s attacks on the Syrian people are therefore also an attack on the rights of workers and oppressed communities here, including students, and only benefit the wealthiest 1% of corporate owners.

Trump’s attacks are a dangerous escalation of the six-year-long U.S. war on Syria, as it is the first time that Washington is openly announcing military strikes aimed at the Syrian government. Such attacks could create a deadly confrontation between two nuclear powers: the U.S. and Russia. Russia has been assisting the Syrian government against U.S.-funded proxies dominated by al-Qaeda. For years, the U.S. government has spent over $1 billion per year funding and arming right-wing proxy forces that have ripped the country apart, creating millions of refugees. In 2016 alone, the U.S. military dropped 12,192 bombs on Syria, destroying the country's infrastructure and killing thousands. Economic sanctions have strangled the Syrian economy, resulting in massive inflation and poverty. The Syrian health service, one of the best in the Middle East before the U.S. intervention, is now close to collapse.

It has long been the strategy of the U.S. government to fund right-wing proxy groups to weaken or overthrow governments which do not fully align with U.S. corporate interests. The ‘war on terror’ is effectively a war on the nations and liberation movements that oppose the foreign domination of their country’s land, labor and resources. Syria is a passageway of important oil and gas pipelines, while the U.S.-backed state of Israel perceives the Syrian government as a threat due to its support for resistance against the Israeli occupation of Arab lands across the Levant. Trump’s attacks have allowed Israel to accelerate its drilling of oil and gas from the Golan Heights in Syria, an area which has been under Israeli military occupation for the past 50 years.

We believe students in the U.S. are in a unique position to expose and oppose the concrete role of university administrations in running higher educational institutions as centers for promoting racist wars, designing weaponry, and predatory military recruitment. By identifying actual policies or contracts that maintain the relationship between a university and the war industry, we are able to educate and mobilize ourselves as a collective force against a concrete issue on campus, which allows us to strike real blows against the 1% and threaten their ability to continue profiting from endless U.S. wars. SDS at UC Davis is protesting Chancellor Gary May’s direct role in profiting from war, as he is on the board of two weapon manufacturing companies.

We also recognize that the U.S. government continues to wage wars abroad while depriving the very people impacted by these wars any avenues of refuge and sanctuary here. Therefore, to express solidarity with victims of U.S. military devastation means to fight for sanctuary campuses at home, where all immigrant and Muslim students and workers are protected from the threat of racist deportations or anti-Muslim bans. All of the countries in the Middle East and Africa included on Trump’s racist Muslim bans have been subjected to the terror of US-backed military occupations, bombings, and killer sanctions for decades.

As an organization committed to fighting for the democratic rights and liberation of all exploited communities, SDS sees the student movement as an important part of the larger struggle for a society where workers and oppressed people have the power to run societal institutions in our interests, as the social majority who produce all wealth and make society run. This includes funding education and humans needs, not racist wars for corporate profits.

Fight Trump’s Racist Attacks - at Home & Abroad!
Hands off Syria! Sanctuary for All!

At our last national SDS conference, we became a member of the international Hands Off Syria Coalition, as well as a signatory to the coalition’s Points of Unity, available here: HandsOffSyriaCoalition.net

February 04, 2017

February 15th National Day of Action: Resist the Racist, Anti-Immigrant Orders!

Since taking office Donald Trump has been feverishly enacting his bigoted, racist agenda through a stream of executive orders and actions. His long list already includes expediting the approval of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines, restricting crucial access to reproductive healthcare, and beginning the roll back of the Affordable Care Act.
Trump’s main attack, however, is aimed at immigration: it is now government policy to ban immigrants from a list, which can be expanded at any time at the president’s discretion, of Muslim-majority countries that includes Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen — all of which Trump is currently bombing — as well as Sudan, Iran, and Somalia; to immediately begin work on the border wall with Mexico; to hire 5,000 additional border agents and 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents; to deport anyone seen as a “risk;” to block all federal grants to sanctuary cities; for all local law enforcement officers to act as immigration agents; and to institute of “extreme vetting” for all refugee admissions. This was all done before the end of the first week of Trump’s presidency. Furthermore, in the coming days Trump is poised to eliminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which currently protects around 740,000 people from deportation.
These executive orders and actions are a concerted and violent assault on already vulnerable groups of people. The majority of immigrants and refugees to the United States are fleeing war, destitution, and internal strife created by US military and economic intervention. The ban on Muslims is clear continuation of racist fear-mongering in order to justify bombing and overthrowing sovereign governments in the Middle East and North Africa for corporate gain. Likewise, the increasing criminalization of undocumented immigrants is not for the “protection of American jobs” but a method of forcing the most dangerous and exploitative jobs to be taken by undocumented people who are unable to unionize and organize their workplaces. Under Obama, over 2.5 million people were deported — more than any other president in the history of the US. From day one, Trump is positioning himself to continue and escalate the offensive against immigrants and refugees, and with the elimination of DACA many facing deportation are those who have lived in the US for the majority of their lives. These bans, restrictions, and program eliminations also further legitimize the ever more prevalent hate crimes committed against Muslim, Arab, Black, Latinx, and Chicanx people.
The “wait-and-see” approach to Trump’s blatantly white supremacist, anti-immigrant agenda is toothless and cowardly and it shows that both the Democrats and the Republicans will fall in line with whatever is profitable and expedient. So far, 14 Democrats (including Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate) have voted for every single one of Trump’s cabinet picks including General John Kelly for the Department of Homeland Security, the agency which is still enforcing Trump’s Muslim ban despite a court ordered stay. We cannot stand idly by while those who claim to lead us do nothing while Trump continues to enact all the policies he promised since the first day of his campaign. We do not “owe Trump an open mind.” We must proactively resist Trump, his cabinet, and his policies.
On the first day of the Muslim ban thousands of protesters mobilized against Trump’s agenda and shut down JFK Airport in New York. In conjunction with the New York Taxi Drivers Alliance strike operations at the airport effectively ceased. Over the following days tens of thousands across the country  joined in marches and rallies against the Muslim ban, the wall, and the racist, Islamophobic, and generally bigoted actions by the Trump administration. Similar to the massive strike on May Day in 2006 that defeated HR-4437, the “Border Protection, Anti-terrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act,” this political and economic pressure by the people in support of immigrants and refugees, and not the behind the scenes maneuvering of any Democrats, led to a temporary halt on the Muslim ban.
We must not relent in our organizing and mobilization. SDS has been at the forefront of marches and protests against Trump. We joined the coalition that marched on the Republican National Convention, we have shut down his rallies across the country, and we will continue to fight his attacks.
Therefore, National Students for a Democratic Society calls for a day of action on February 15th to resist Trump’s racist, anti-immigrant executive orders and agenda. We demand a rescission of these orders, legislative protection of sanctuary campuses and cities, preservation of DACA, and Legalization For All! The situation under Trump is likely going to get worse before it gets better; however, only by building the student movement — and by extension the people’s movement as a whole — and struggling for change can we achieve a more just and democratic society.
Dare to Struggle! Dare to Win!
Stop Trump’s Agenda!
Sanctuary For All!
Legalization For All!
Education For All!

January 26, 2017

National SDS Supports Sanctuary Campuses

National Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) expresses our strongest support for sanctuary campuses, and reaffirms our commitment to standing in solidarity with the undocumented and Muslim communities in their struggle against racist immigration and registration laws. More than twenty-five campuses have declared themselves sanctuaries following the election. SDS chapters from Salt Lake City to St Pete are currently waging campaigns to demand university administrations declare their campus a sanctuary amidst Trump's anti-immigrant policy proposals.

Already under President Obama, a record number of human beings were expelled from this country. When you combine the number of immigrants detained at the borders with the number of people that were removed from within the United States, President Obama oversaw the deportation of more than 2.5 million people. This number will only increase under Donald Trump’s administration, making the struggle in support of undocumented families more important than ever before. The Arab and Muslim registry Trump has promised to implement also represents an intensification of profiling and targeting that existed under previous presidents — most notably in the form of Bill Clinton’s National Security Entry-Exit Registration System. Students have a crucial role to play in supporting vulnerable and marginalized communities against these growing threats.

Universities have long been key sites of resistance against racist laws, and there is an important history of student organizing to keep law enforcement off of our campuses. As early as the 1850s, for example, students and university workers in the North came together to protect formerly-enslaved African Americans from would-be slave catchers on campuses such as Oberlin, Western Reserve College, and Illinois College. Later, during the notorious internment of Japanese families during World War II, students organized at more than fifteen universities across the country to create sanctuaries and safe havens, where vulnerable community members of Japanese descent could be free from harassment, detention, and internment. During the Vietnam War, students across the country also came together to hide and protect draft resisters. Members of the City College of New York chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, for example, continued to shelter fugitive draftees even in the face of arrests and other forms of repression. In raising the demand for sanctuary campuses, we as students are taking our place in this historic struggle; a struggle for campus communities bound together in solidarity, that refuse to allow racist laws to tear them apart.

Historically, colleges didn't have their own police forces until administrations pushed for them after the powerful student protests against racism and war in the '60s. Campus police are not about protecting students, they are about protecting the financial interests of wealthy administrators by preventing organized resistance to systemic oppression.  College and high-school based police are using high levels of aggressive force against students, including tasers, pepper spray, and assaults. Abundant research shows having police in schools does nothing to reduce crime, contributes to an atmosphere of fear, and is at the center of criminalization of non-white students in particular.  

By refusing to allow ICE and other agencies of state repression access to our classrooms, dorms, cafeterias, libraries, and places of worship, we are fighting in solidarity with some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. We should demand that administrations proactively defend undocumented people and their identities. As students, we are in a position to organize and put direct pressure on university administrations not to collaborate with ICE, Muslim registries, or any other form of racist targeting and discrimination. These kinds of campaigns win real protections for students, workers, and families, and are a necessary form of resistance against unjust laws that are rooted in white supremacy, racism, and Islamophobia.

Every city a sanctuary city! Every campus a sanctuary campus!
No walls, no deportations, no Muslim registration!

December 06, 2016

National SDS celebrates victory at Standing Rock against deadly Dakota Access Pipeline

Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is a 1,172 mile long, $3.8 billion project by oil company Energy Transfer Partners. Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation lies 0.5 miles south of the proposed construction, have expressed repeated concerns over the risk that a pipeline rupture or spill could pose to its water supply and treaty rights. Construction of the pipeline was halted after protesters and indigenous water protectors mobilized to defend the national sovereignty and water supply of Standing Rock.

The pipeline company was recently denied a permit by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and will conduct an environmental impact study. This occurred shortly after thousands of veterans from around the country descended upon Standing Rock to help defend people from the repression of law enforcement. Police clad in riot gear have deployed attack dogs, tear gas, rubber bullets, tasers, and water hoses at freezing temperatures against the people at Standing Rock. We salute their courage and recognize that credit for this victory belongs to them for fighting back.

We stand firmly against any attempts by Energy Transfer Partners to continue construction or re-route the pipeline. Sustainable and alternative energy sources exist that do not threaten to poison our environment, unlike non-renewable fossil fuels, and should be invested in instead.  

DAPL is financed by oil company billionaires and bankers, and protected through the violent force of over 76 law enforcement agencies including police forces and deployment of national guard. Meanwhile, wealthy politicians like Trump and Clinton supported the deadly pipeline, putting oil company profits over indigenous lives.

The history of the oppression of indigenous nations goes back to the very founding of this country, when European colonizers accomplished initial settlement of the United States through terror and genocide of millions. Today, more than 500 treaties made between the U.S. government and Native American tribes are broken, nullified or amended. The criminal disregard of Native sovereignty has greenlighted U.S. corporate exploitation of natural resources located on indigenous territories.  

Government and corporate abuses have consistently been met with indigenous resistance and resilience. In 2015, Native American tribes whose lands the Keystone XL pipeline would have traversed, organized against its construction and successfully defeated the 1,179 mile oil pipeline.

History shows time and time again that when the people fight back, we win. Building grassroots organizations independent of the political establishment that profits from and sustains our oppression, and which are capable of leading mass mobilizations, helps oppressed communities build our collective power to demand change. Direct disruption of the system and non-cooperation with oppression is how we concretely fight systemic issues, and seize what’s ours from those in power.

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) vows to carry the struggle forward against our common enemy on campuses across the country, as we organize to stop the Trump administration’s incoming agenda.

When Native Americans are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!
From Standing Rock to Palestine, occupation is a crime!
Dare to struggle, dare to win!