August 24, 2010

SDS Arizona Freedom Summer a success!

By Eric Gardner, UCLA SDS This summer, Students for a Democratic Society joined up with grassroots organizers and people of conscience around the country, to stand up against a wave of new racist, anti-immigrant laws like Arizona's notorious SB1070. SDS members from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas, Washington State, California, and elsewhere mobilized to protest against Arizona's oppressive new law – either by organizing demonstrations in their own states (in the case of Milwaukee SDS) or by traveling to Arizona in order to work alongside grassroots organizations such as the Puente Movement, NDLON, and No More Deaths. In Arizona, SDS members were privileged to participate in a powerful movement that has united Latino immigrant communities, local indigenous and Chicano people, and students & workers from all backgrounds. We are united in demanding full equality and leagazation for the undocumented and an end to racist attacks like SB1070 and the ban on ethnic studies in Arizona schools. SDS members knocked on doors in the Arizona heat as part of community organizing drives, painted signs and banners, phone-banked, marched in the streets, and participated in civil disobedience (the author of this report was arrested, and spent over 24 hours in jail). SDS also helped to raise the profile of these struggles across the country (we even attracted the attention of Glenn Beck:,2933,598463,00.html – thanks for the publicity, Glenn!). The struggle against SB1070 and copycat legislation in other states is only beginning – some parts of the law were hit by a temporary federal injunction, but other oppressive provisions (such as a total criminalization of day laborers) are in full effect. SDS members are well aware of this, and will be able to use knowledge and experience gained in Arizona to continue building the fight. Stay tuned for a SDS workshop on Arizona at the upcoming National Convention this fall! Other report-backs from SDS in Arizona: Grace Kelly and Emily Maple (U of Minnesota SDS): Rob Block (Houston SDS) writes about organizing in Tucson, AZ: