January 24, 2016

2015 National Convention Resolutions

These are resolutions and statements passed at our 2015 National Convention hosted in Milwaukee, WI. These resolutions and statements will help shape our politics and campaigns in the following year to come. These resolutions can also be printed out and used when tabling and flyering for your SDS chapter.

1. National Students for a Democratic Society Opposes Political Repression and Supports the Anti-War 23
Minneapolis Students for a Democratic Society

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) stands with the Anti-War 23 and opposes all forms of political repression by the U.S. government. The Anti-War 23 are the group of anti-war, labor, and international solidarity activists whose homes were raided by the FBI on September 24th 2010 and then threatened with vague and unsubstantiated “material support for terrorism” charges for their opposition to U.S. foreign policy in Colombia and Palestine. More than five years have passed since the raids and the U.S. government still refuses to fully drop the case or return all personal items stolen from the homes of these activists by the FBI. From the case of Rasmea Odeh to the Anti-War 23, SDS stands in solidarity with activists targeted by the U.S. government for fighting for a more just and equitable society.

SDS calls on progressive students and youth to support the struggle against political repression. Political repression, like the FBI raids on the Anti-War 23, is intended to silence dissent and criminalize opposition to the U.S. government and therefore is fundamentally at odds with any notion of American democracy. SDS stands with organizations like the Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) and the Rosenberg Fund for Children (RFC), which work to publicize cases like the Anti-War 23 and mobilize activists nationally to support political prisoners and victims of political repression.

SDS understands that while the government’s threatening accusation that the Anti-War 23 somehow provided “material support for terrorism” is steeped in the post-9/11 language of the Bush and Obama presidencies, political repression has long been a staple of U.S. policy in silencing progressive activism. In 1798 the U.S. government first passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which made it illegal to voice opposition to federal government and facilitated the deportation of any immigrant deemed to have political views “dangerous to the peace and safety of the U.S.,” and these laws were further updated in the 1910s and 1920s to deport immigrants and silence citizens sympathetic to the Russian Revolution. Before the raids on homes of the Anti-War 23 were the Palmer Raids, which led to the arrest of 10,000 labor activists, leftists, and immigrants in late-1919 and early-1920. Before the Anti-War 23 were subpoenaed to appear before grand juries for their political beliefs were the Hollywood Ten and McCarthyite anti-communist witch trials of the 1950s. Before the Patriot Act was COINTELPRO.

SDS believes that it’s right to rebel and that it’s the duty of progressive activists to oppose political repression by standing in solidarity with groups like the Anti-War 23!

2.  Resolution for SDS to Continue its Support of Organized Labor and Extend its Organizing in Solidarity with Campus Workers

Last year, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) adopted a resolution at its ninth annual national convention (October 2014) to include supporting organized labor and working class militancy as one of its core values.  In the coming year, SDS re-commits to support organized labor wherever possible and extends its commitment to organize in solidarity with university workers and their unions.

Around the country, workers are on the move. At the same time, many university systems are facing budget cuts and misspending by their university administrations. For instance, the University of Wisconsin system is facing $250 million in cuts this year while the number of administrators making six-figure salaries swells. As administrators increasingly adopt corporate models for university management, furthering the treatment of education as a private rather than public good, our universities increasingly mirror the economic divisions in the world today. According to Oxfam in 2015, the world’s richest 1% of the population owns as much accumulated wealth as the remaining 99%, and the richest 85 people, a group that wouldn’t fill most university auditoriums, possess more wealth than the poorest half of humanity (3.5 billion people). At our universities the struggles between haves and have-nots is increasingly stark as well.

The University of Minnesota: Twin Cities chapter of SDS has provided a good model for the kind of labor solidarity activism demanded by this resolution. While UMN SDS has led its own campaigns demanding lower tuition, increased diversity, and cuts to administration from the University of Minnesota, it has also prioritized supporting campus workers when they lead struggles on campus. UMN SDS has worked over years to develop relationships with the major union locals on their campus, representing janitorial workers, food service workers, clerical workers, and other staff across the university, and has organized rallies, educational panels, and other events shoulder-to-shoulder with them. This working relationship is maintained by regularly asking for union speakers at SDS events, by asking for endorsements of SDS events by the union locals, and by organizing students to the best of their ability to turn out to union sponsored events.

SDS stands in solidarity with all university workers demanding living wages and respect. SDS supports campus workers when they lead struggles for a more fair and economically just university. SDS also understands that the hardest-working and most underpaid workers are, more often than not, the ones cooking, cleaning, maintaining university buildings and grounds, doing clerical work, and working at university clinics, hospitals, and libraries, and that these jobs are often done by women and people of color. SDS should work to partner, collaborate, and support these workers’ organizations in making demands on our administrations. This resolution calls on SDS chapters to deepen their relationships with local unions, on campus and in their communities, and to adopt a working class outlook in all the other organizing they do.

3. S.D.S. Fights for Education Rights and Education for All
West Chester University PA SDS

National Students for a Democratic Society calls on all chapters and affiliates to stand in solidarity with students of the world on International Students Day, November 17, 2015. S.D.S. calls on all chapters to host or sponsor events in order to raise action for education rights that are relevant to each campus.

National Students for a Democratic Society asserts that education is a right, and this extends to undocumented people as well. We call on all Students for a Democratic Society members and affiliates to fight for undocumented people's right to education, and support Education for All. We call on all S.D.S. members to fight against discriminatory and racist admissions policies. We call on all S.D.S. members to fight against budget cuts, privatization and fight for equal tuition.

S.D.S. is currently fighting for Education for All. Currently many states deny undocumented high school students in-state tuition, even if they meet all other residency requirements. These institutions force students into making a difficult choice: either pay exorbitant out-of-state fees, or do not attend college at all.

4. National Students for a Democratic Society Says: US Military Off Campus!

Students for a Democratic Society is opposed to all forms of military presence on campuses across the country. Since the turn of the century, it’s estimated that over a million people have died as a result of the US occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands have died in drone campaigns in places such as Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan. Additionally, thousands have been tortured and hundreds imprisoned without charge in detention camps from Afghanistan to Guantanamo Bay. The US military is not a force that spreads and supports democracy, as the United States government would have you believe. It is a force that brutalizes, occupies, and otherwise disrupts the lives of millions around the world. Additionally, the US military is a consistent perpetrator of racism, sexism, and anti-LGBTQIA+ behavior. Between practices of “Racial Thursdays”, the encouragement of white nationalist enlistment, the Mahmudiyah rape and killings, as well as the murder of Filipino trans woman Jennifer Laude by PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton, who has been protected by the United States through its refusal to turn over full custody of him to the Philippines.

Since the end of World War II, universities have played part and parcel to the whims of the Pentagon. Today, many schools facilitate defense research, host ROTC programs, allow military recruiters to work on campus, and even hold special events where the US military can spread its propaganda. We see this as nothing except complicity in ongoing war crimes and other tragedies committed by the US military abroad. We demand that all universities cease activities in support of the US military, and demand that they bar military personnel from entering any college campus. In addition, we demand the end to ROTC and recruitment programs, not only on college campuses, but in high schools as well. We recognize that military recruitment is based largely in coercion of poor and oppressed nationality youth, and as such are on the side of would-be recruits.

In light of not only the ongoing occupation and aggression in the Middle East, but also US militarization in both Southeast Asia and Africa, we call on Students for a Democratic Society chapters and affiliates to fight the US military not only in their communities alongside the broader Anti-War movement, but on all campuses. Together, we can strike a critical blow to US intervention, imperialism, militarism, and war.

U.S. Military Off Campus!
End the Occupation Now!

5. National Students for a Democratic Society Fights against a sexist and patriarchal society
West Chester University PA SDS

Students for a Democratic Society fights against all forms of sexism and patriarchy, displayed on college campuses and in society as a whole. National Students for a Democratic Society calls on all students on all campuses to stand against sexism, patriarchy and the degradation of women. National SDS calls on all students to stand against administrations that display any forms of sexism at their universities. SDS continues the struggle to fight against all forms of oppression and domination against people of all genders and sex.

As students who go to school to receive an education, it is important that the institution we attend help to promote a safe space for all. When it fails to provide a safe space and allows for members of the student body to be openly degraded, sexualized and objectified, we have a right and a duty to act against the blatant sexism and to hold certain individuals and the administration accountable. It is well known that in an effort to bring in money and students, both campus security and the administration cover up sexual assaults, rapes, and other deplorable acts committed by frats and other individuals on and around campuses. This cannot be allowed to continue and must come to an end.

On August 21st, by the Sigma Nu fraternity at Old Dominion University in Virginia, Sigma Nu fraternity members hung “daughter drop-off” signs that said, “Rowdy And Fun! Hope your baby girl is ready for a good time!” and “Go ahead and drop off mom too!” SDS views this as fraternity members celebrating rape culture, and we denounce it completely. Sigma Pi members at Middle Tennessee State University displayed “Freshman Girl Info Center” signs, in an uncanny resemblance to the ODU case. Another big case occurred at Texas Tech, with signs hung up by Phi Delta Theta members, announcing, “No Means Yes” and “Yes Means Anal.”

S.D.S is all too familiar with incidents like these. As part of our current campaign, we are fighting against sexism. One of our members witnessed signs similar to those put up by Old Dominion University. Not only have those signs been seen on our campus but starting in February 2015, our school’s bookstore sold sexist blow up dolls, where the female was described as “the perfect female specimen,” “non-talking,” and “no headaches.” The fact that these dolls were being sold is a perfect example of the administration and University openly supporting sexual violence and rape culture. Those in charge of purchasing the dolls to begin with were removed from their position, and more importantly, the dolls themselves were removed. There is still much work that needs to be done before we can claim victory against the administration.
SDS is committed to building a strong organization and growing a popular movement for student power to unite the youth and students of the United States. Nothing short of protests and public pressure has struck any blows. We condemn the fraternity members’ disgusting sexist attitudes. More than that, we hold campus administration responsible for largely ignoring these cases and silencing these victims. SDS will keep organizing to end rape culture, sexual violence, and patriarchy until it is no longer a reality.

6. National Students for a Democratic Society Stands with Simon Trinidad and Colombia

Students for a Democratic Society stands with Simon Trinidad and the peace process in Colombia. Simon Trinidad is an important political leader in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP). He served as a peace negotiator before the CIA pushed for his extradition to the US for trumped up charges. The US government sentenced Simon Trinidad to 60 years in prison when it got a conviction after Trinidad beat three of the four kangaroo court trials. He's forced into solitary confinement and denied basic human rights.

If the United States governments gross violations of Simon Trinidad human rights were not enough, it actively supports, funds, and trains the Colombian government to engage in a dirty civil war. The vast majority of human rights violations in Colombia occur either by the government itself or by the government supported narco-paramilitaries. Yet, Colombia has received nearly 8 billion dollars in US aid primarily for military operations under the guise of "counter-narcotics."

The FARC-EP demands the release of one of their main peace negotiators, Simon Trinidad, from inhumane conditions. The United States and Barack Obama must meet this incredibly reasonable request for the sake of the peace process in Colombia. National SDS will mobilize one September 21st to demand Simon Trinidad's release at the Florence Colorado Supermax
prison known as the “Guantanamo of the Rockies”.

7. Stop Deportations!

Under President Obama’s administration we have seen over 2 million deportations of undocumented immigrants. An immigration reform law did not pass on a national level in the year 2013; the year in which immigration reform had the most momentum in both the Senate and Congress. In 2013, S. 744, The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, was introduced by Senator Chuck Schumer D-NY. The bill called for further militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border, an increase in deportations, expansion of the discriminatory e-verify system, and it minimized a path towards citizenship for the undocumented. National SDS opposes federal legislation for Immigration Reform that calls for further militarization of the U.S. Mexico border and does not serve to help all of the undocumented immigrants.

​Due to the work of immigrant rights organizations and their allies, President Obama declared Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012. DACA has granted a work permit and relief for deportation to nearly 700,000 recipients. Most immigrant rights organizations began to work on stop deportations campaigns after immigration reform failed to pass in 2013. The work these organizations did pressured Obama in to expanding DACA for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) in November 2014. DAPA proclaimed to prioritize felons not parents and to expand the age restrictions for DACA eligibility.
Unfortunately, DAPA was held up in a court injunction in New Orleans –in February of 2015- and was stopped from going in to effect. DAPA would have given employment authorization and protected 4.7 million undocumented immigrants from deportations. SDS supports the expansion of deferred action to all undocumented immigrants and denounces any injunctions or discriminatory rulings.

​The rate of deportations has slowed down from 1,100 deportations in a day to about 700 deportations in a day. This is still unacceptable and inhumane. Many organizations have started Not 1 More, stop deportations campaigns. We must continue to denounce deportations and support organizations that are working on campaigns to stop deportations. Many organizations are also working on Drivers’ Licenses for all campaigns, which would also serve to relief immigrants from racial profiling which often leads to detention and deportation. SDS chapters or affiliates that are working on stop deportations campaigns must call for deferred action for all undocumented immigrants. We cannot wait for politicians or any government officials to grant relief at a federal level; we must take the struggle against deportations at a local or state level. We must continue to resist and defend all families from the threat of separation.

8. Students for a Democratic Society Stands Against All Police Crimes, Vigilante Murder & the Criminal Injustice System
Tallahassee, FL SDS

Students for a Democratic Society renews our commitment to stand against racism and national oppression, particularly in its manifestations as police brutality, repression and militarization. We also stand in solidarity, and will continue to organize in support of, the uprisings of oppressed communities against police terror. Uprisings such as the ones in Ferguson, Baltimore, and elsewhere, have highlighted the extreme emergency situation of oppressed nationalities in the United States. It also demonstrates the measures to which oppressed communities will go to take back their streets in a sustained series of protests that have yet to cease, despite brutal repression from militarized police and the national guard. SDS will continue to condemn and organize against police repression and militarization.

Local state and federal law enforcement units have always stolen the lives of innocent Black, Chicano, American Indian, and other oppressed nationalities in the U.S. However, some stand-out cases over the past few years have led to persistent protests, such as Eric Garner in New York, Michael Brown in Missouri, and Freddie Grey in Baltimore. In each of these cases a Black person was stopped by police officers and killed before any investigation or conviction had a chance to take place. In response to the neglect of the struggles and voices of black women in the broader movement, activists have initiated a call to “Say Her Name” to emphasize the cases of black women including Rekia Boyd, Mya Hall, Sandra Bland, Alexia Christian, Natasha McKenna and many others. As well protests have been called to proclaim “Black Trans Lives Matter” to call attention to the emergency situation faced by black trans women in the United States who have been murdered in record numbers in 2015.

SDS must continue to build this struggle while black men, women, and non-binary people face extrajudicial murder from police officers, security guards, and vigilantes every 28 hours, and oppressed nationality communities face higher rates of arrest, harassment, and brutality from the police. This summer, SDS sent a contingent to the August 29 march against police crimes in Chicago and supported the demand for community control over the police through the establishment of a civilian police accountability council. SDS will continue to support and promote all demands for democratic control of police departments by oppressed communities. Finally, we will continue to struggle for the national liberation and self-determination of all oppressed nations in the U.S. and abroad.

9.SDS Must Fight to End Racist Admissions Policies and to Defend Affirmative Action
Tallahassee Students for a Democratic Society

Students for a Democratic Society stands against the system of racial discrimination and exclusion which continues to deny education to oppressed nationalities in the United States. SDS will build the struggle to end racist admissions policies and to defend affirmative action and other policies that protect the right of education for oppressed nationalities.

The creation of the University System in the United States was intimately tied into slavery and colonialism. Universities were funded by the slave trade, while slave labor was also used for the construction and maintenance of the first campuses. Universities were responsible for the development of scientific racism and other ideological justifications of slavery.

After the abolition of slavery, Universities developed policies to maintain exclusivity for white students. While Universities in the South used legal segregation, northern Universities used quota systems to limit the numbers of oppressed nationalities. Many Universities relied on the KKK and white supremacist terrorism to maintain segregation on campuses for years to come.

At the start of the 20th century intelligence tests also emerged for the purpose of stratifying education. These tests were heavily promoted by the American eugenics movement, which claimed them as evidence of the inherent supremacy of the Nordic European race. In the 1920s, led by the influential Eugenicist Carl Brigham, the College Board developed the SAT, a test which continues to be used to justify the exclusion of oppressed nationalities from the University system. While the existence of racial bias within the SAT and ACT is widely known and acknowledged within Universities, these tests are given prime importance in making admissions decisions at most Universities. SDS demands an end to the SAT and all racist testing requirements.

Related to the development of testing restrictions, anti-immigrant racism in the early 20th century led to the development of legacy preferences in admissions. Up to this day Universities offer admissions preferences based on family history of attendance. These policies were intended to ensure upper class white students maintained their exclusive privilege to University education. While some Universities have already abolished this policy, many continue to use legacy preferences in admissions as a method of racial discrimination. SDS demands an end to all legacy preferences in admissions.

The struggle for Civil Rights legally overturned University segregation in the 50s and 60s. Later, the national liberation movements in the late 60s and 70s strove to make integration into a reality. These struggles drastically changed the conditions for oppressed nationality students in the University system. However, the exclusionary admissions policies were never abolished.

In recent years the university system in the U.S. has even trended toward higher levels of exclusion, as the past victories of oppressed nationality student struggles were overturned throughout the country. Organizations that once fought for national liberation were co-opted by the state, affirmative action policies were overturned, and ethnic studies programs were slowly decimated.

Affirmative action policies have been under continued attack on the federal level by Supreme Court rulings. The Supreme Court is taking a case this December which could put a complete end to Affirmative Action. At this time eight states, California, Washington, Michigan, Nebraska, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Florida, have outright banned affirmative action policies. SDS will fight to defend affirmative action policies where they exist, and demands the restoration of affirmative action where it is currently banned.

Students for a Democratic Society will build the struggle to end racist admissions policies and defend affirmative action. SDS will continue to fight to build a world where education is guaranteed for all.

10. National Students for a Democratic Society stands against all forms of U.S intervention Revolutionary Students Union

We recognize that the actions of the United States abroad are never out of a concern for international law or human rights. Rather, the U.S intervenes in other countries’ affairs to secure foreign markets for the domestic Rich elite of the U.S. These interventions consistently come at a large price to human life and a nation's stability.
From Venezuela to Iraq we see a diverse approach and a varying level of intensity in these interventions. However, in every case one thing stays the same: the destruction of peace for those who don't match the United States agenda. In Iraq, the intervention took the most brutal and visible form: carpet bombings, full invasion and subsequent occupation. However this is only one form of U.S intervention into a country's affairs. We see very different but all too similar situations across the globe. From Palestine, to the Philippines to Columbia.

We can look to Palestine, where the Israeli government receives $10.2 million dollars a day, or $3.7 billion a year to maintain and expand an occupation of the Palestinian people's homeland. Where Israeli settlers under the protection of the Israeli government burn orchards and attack Palestinians in their homes. Where any act defiance can mean death and desolation for entire city blocks.

Or we can look to the Philippines where the government receives $50 million a year to repress people's movements. Where the U.S conducts joint operations with the Filipino military in strategic areas with the specific purpose of repressing the people's movements. Where the government kills and evicts Lumad and other indigenous people and assassinates their leaders for mining and logging companies.
We can look all over the world and see clearly: the United States does not have any interest in preserving human rights. It's interests lie in preserving and expanding it's economic interests and maintaining global political domination. As an organization, Students for a Democratic Society stands firmly against killing and political domination in the name of profit.

As progressive student activists, it is our duty to stand against these interventions. This holds true still when this intervention consists of less visible actions such as sanctions or funding opposition groups in an attempt to foment civil unrest and conflict. As students we need to be vigilant of these less visible forms of warfare to educate and mobilize our peers.

Those in power would have us believe that while millions at home go hungry, while our illnesses are untreated and where our livelihoods are so unstable, that billions of dollars need to be spent on these interventions. The people of the United States gain nothing when countries are torn apart by U.S wars, proxy wars, or sanctions. For these reasons, Students for a Democratic Society will struggle to prevent and end U.S interventions and all other forms of U.S aggression against sovereign nations.