October 24, 2012

Occupy Colleges and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) Merge Based on Common Principles of Participatory Democracy

Occupy Colleges, a national affinity group of Occupy Wall Street, concentrated on combating the corporatization of campuses and student debt has joined forces with Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) , a national student group focused on anti-war efforts and student issues which re-emerged in 2006. 
Chicago, IL (August 21, 2012)  On August 19, 2012 SDS formally approved a merger with Occupy Colleges during their weekly National Working Committee conference call.  A previous  national vote by the Occupy Colleges National Assembly was followed by intense discussion and a corresponding vote by the National Working Committee of SDS which resulted in an unanimous decision.  Together,  the two groups produced a single organization with a shared pool of resources and common SDS identity.  

Occupy Colleges chapters as they currently exist going into the upcoming school year have all been given a affiliate status within the national SDS network. Like SDS, Occupy chapters reserve full independence to make group decisions such as changing their name or becoming active member in the national committees.  However, campus based occupations have been encouraged to formally found SDS chapters with their respective administrations. Occupy Colleges co-facilitator Natalia Abrams commented “it was the dream of Occupy Colleges at our inception to join with SDS in order to strengthen the student movement.” Stephanie Taylor of the SDS National Working Committee added “this merger signifies not an end or a beginning to our respective local movements, but rather a burgeoning of our critical, collective, national movement as students and youth. SDS has always stood as the largest multi-issue, multi-tendency progressive student organization in the country and we are excited to have Occupy Colleges officially join us -- we know this is a positive advancement for the student movement at large.”

This merger signifies the escalation of the initiative started last semester and should in no way be seen as the end of the Occupy movement. SDS shall serve as the non-hierarchical national coordinating body to further promote student resistance and the ongoing occupation of academia.  SDS as it currently stands has effectively doubled in size now with chapters numbering in the hundreds scattered across campuses in nearly every U.S. state.  Details of upcoming campaigns will be discussed at the SDS national convention at the University of Florida - Gainesville later this fall.