November 21-23 Students for a Democratic Society will be joining thousands of other activists, from across the country, outside the gates of Fort Benning in Columbus, GA to say, “Shut down the School of the Americas!” The School of the Americas (SOA) is training ground for Latin American soldiers who are taught torture, psychological warfare, as well as how to carry out coups and overthrow democratically elected governments across Latin America. SOA graduates are responsible for overthrowing and attempts to overthrow democratically elected governments in places such as Honduras and Venezuela. SOA graduates are responsible for the rape, murder, and “disappearances” of hundreds of thousands of students, teachers, union leaders, clergy, and people who stand on the side of the poor and oppressed throughout the Americas, but especially in Colombia.
Recently, 43 student activists from Ayotzinapa, Mexico were “disappeared” by Mexican police. Mexico is one country that sends its military and security forces to train at the SOA. It is more important than ever to raise the demand to shut down the SOA and fight for justice for the 43 students from Ayotzinapa and for all those murdered by SOA graduates.
SDS’ers often say, “When we dare to fight, we dare to win!” And, we believe that we will win. One example of this is earlier this year when the Columbus, GA Police Department threatened to attempt to stop us from protesting outside the gates of Fort Benning this November. SDS was one of many organizations that vowed to be outside the gates of Fort Benning no matter what. We fought this attack saying, “Shut down the SOA, not free speech!” By our collective effort we were able to force the Columbus Police Department to back down. But we do not back down. We will continue to fight because we have seen time and time again that when we fight, we can win.
SDS will be hosting a student meet up on Saturday night after the concert in the convention center at the Fountain City Coffee shop (located at 1007 Broadway) in downtown Columbus. Anyone who believes that we can win and is interested in building the student movement is invited to join us!
See you in the streets!