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!

November 22, 2016

National SDS Call to Action: Student Walk-Outs on January 20th Inauguration Day

Since early 2016, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) has been at the forefront of protests to stop Trump. Chapters and affiliates led protests from coast to coast, even helping to completely shut down his speaking event in Chicago. This summer, we attended and spoke at the March on the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. From the beginning, SDS has said that Trump’s agenda of bigotry, misogyny, anti-immigrant, and Islamophobic attacks should not go unopposed.

Upon his election win, Clinton officially remarked that "We owe Trump an open mind". The same rich politicians and corporate media pundits who told us that Trump could be defeated at the ballot box have offered no real solutions for how to stop his policy measures. Like in 2008, these politicians backed by Wall Street, bankers, and billionaires have proposed that we compromise, but SDS calls for students to mobilize.

We call upon students and all people to channel their anger into organizing, so we can defend our communities, and build sustainable movements independent of the political establishment that provides both Trump and Hillary as viable candidates.

On Inauguration Day, Jan 20th, SDS will hold a national student walkout, in alliance with many other student groups. We will disrupt operations on campuses everywhere. Whether it’s against segregation, deportation, or war, history shows that the fight for an education system based on peace, equality, and justice has always been spearheaded by students and youth, and never by the White House.

While we anticipate continued attacks on undocumented youth, we’ve already seen more deportations in the last eight years under President Obama than we’ve ever seen in US history. SDS has protested to end them every step of the way.  

SDS will continue to fight for #EducationForAll and #LegalizationForAll. We will be joining the fight to establish sanctuary campuses everywhere.

We demand free tuition and equal access to education for Black, Chicano, Latino  and specifically undocumented students. We demand sanctuary campuses everywhere, the preservation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and an end to deportations.

1. Free tuition! Accessibility at all public institutions.
2. Affirmative action, the end of racist testing, and quotas for admissions of African-American, Chicano, Latino, Asian, and students from other oppressed groups who are underrepresented at our institutions.
3. Equal access to education for undocumented students, from tuition equity to financial aid.
4. Non-cooperation with Immigration Customs Enforcement agents.
5. Protection of students’ information from law enforcement agencies, including residency status, religious affiliation, and other information from educational records protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
6. Federal protection for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, regardless of any Supreme Court ruling.

Moreover, we demand a just and fair education system on the basis of a just and fair society: no more wars, no US intervention, no police crimes, and no deportations. We will continue to mobilize until a fair and just society is won.

Stop Trump!
Sanctuary for All!
Legalization For All!
Education for All!

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November 09, 2016

National SDS Call to Action: Protest Trump’s Bigoted Agenda in the Streets!  

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) is making a national call to action, to unite all progressive forces through local mass mobilizations around the country against Donald Trump’s bigoted agenda. SDS chapters from Tallahassee to Detroit have planned rallies and marches, while thousands of students at Berkeley High School in California staged a walk-out.

Since the beginning of 2016, SDS has been at the forefront of protests to dump Trump. Our chapters and affiliates led protests from coast to coast, even helping to completely shut down his speaking event in Chicago. We said that Trump’s agenda of bigotry, anti-immigrant, and Islamophobic attacks should not go unopposed.

Many have already voiced anger and confusion upon the election of Trump. During the primary, the Democratic National Committee purposefully elevated Trump in an attempt to make Clinton seem more electable. Despite Clinton barely winning the popular vote, the Electoral College determined that Trump got elected. Blame should be placed on this undemocratic system, not third party voters or people who desire a real progressive alternative.

Upon his election win, Clinton officially remarked that "We owe Trump an open mind". The same wealthy politicians and corporate media pundits who told us that Trump could be defeated at the ballot box, have offered no real solutions for how to stop his policy measures.

We call upon students and all people to channel their anger into organizing, so we can defend our communities, and build sustainable movements independent of the political establishment that provides both Trump and Hillary as viable candidates.

Mass deportations, border militarization, Islamophobic and anti-refugee attacks have already occurred under both Republican and Democrat presidencies. Obama was responsible for deporting 2.5 million undocumented immigrants, more people than the sum of all 19 presidents who governed the United States from 1892-2000.

SDS leads campaigns to win concrete demands, and fight systemic issues for lasting change. We aim to educate ourselves about the needs of students and oppressed people, and use direct action to demand what’s ours from those in power. SDS won tuition equity for undocumented students in the state of Florida, defeated tuition hikes on several campuses, and recently helped win a major strike victory for faculty workers at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. When we dare to struggle, we dare to win!

Trump says go back, we say fight back!

November 01, 2016

National SDS celebrates Harvard and Pennsylvania college strike victories

National SDS celebrates the victorious worker and faculty strikes at Harvard and campuses across Pennsylvania. When we dare to strike, we dare to win!

Picket lines graced the Harvard campuses for the first time in over thirty years this semester as Harvard University Dining Service (HUDS) workers voted 591-18 in favor of reviving the strike. HUDS workers drew a line in the sand over proposed health care cuts and the system of cyclical layoffs that leave most dining workers with no source of income for up to four months out of every year. Harvard has already forced similarly abusive contracts on other sectors of the workforce, but the brave individuals that work in Harvard’s dining hall said enough is enough! Workers gave the administration over three months to meet their demands, and when the administrators refused to budge, workers brought out the most powerful tool labor has at its disposal: the strike.

Over the course of the 22-day strike, HUDS workers built a strong united front of students, faculty, and lower-level administrative and clerical staff. Student organizations such as the Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM) and Reclaim Harvard Law held joint student-worker rallies, organized food drives for the striking workers, recruited their classmates to reinforce the picket lines, and called walk-outs that brought hundreds of students out of the classrooms and into the streets. More importantly, however, students at Harvard targeted the individual financiers and corporate elites at the very top of the chain of command-- the Fellows of the Harvard Corporation. Students flooded these individuals’ inboxes, voicemails, and mailboxes with complaints and condemnations of the way the Fellows were exploiting workers, thereby directly disrupting their lives. The final blow in the Harvard campaign came Monday, October 23, when SLAM led hundreds of students in a walk-out and marched on 124 Mt. Auburn, where the contract was being negotiated. By refusing to leave the premises until the administration offered the workers a fair contract, the students helped build direct pressure, and by the end of the evening the workers had a contract that met all of their demands without exception.

Students at West Chester University of Pennsylvania put these same direct action tactics into effect during the statewide faculty strike that kicked off on October 19. The strikers were organized under the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), a union that represents 14 different campuses across the state. By calling for a statewide strike, the faculty were able to fight back against changes to their healthcare and budget cuts, and to push for higher quality education and fairer wages for the lowest-paid faculty and teaching staff.

Students showed their solidarity with the striking faculty from the very beginning. Members of West Chester Students for a Democratic Society, for example, reinforced the picket lines from the moment they first emerged on their campus. On the first day of the strike, West Chester SDS organized a campus-wide walkout that not only disrupted classes and the normal functioning of the university, but also brought students into direct contact with striking faculty, who were able to discuss their struggle and educate students about the material conditions they were facing.

West Chester SDS also showed support by offering food, transportation, and solidarity to the striking faculty. Several members traveled to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education headquarters, in Harrisburg, where they directly confronted Chancellor Frank Brogan, forcing him to listen to faculty demands. At 10am on Friday, October 21, students marched into town and met with Mayor Carolyn Comitta, shoring up her support for the strike. Students then marched through campus and confronted Governor Tom Wolf at a local restaurant, where they demanded that the Governor visit West Chester University. Upon learning that Governor Wolf had fled the restaurant through the back door, students marched back to campus and once again joined the picket lines, where SDS helped to lead chants demanding a fair contract. By the end of the day, APSCUF had won a new contract that will help ensure quality education standards across the entire state.

The victories at Harvard and West Chester prove the importance of strong student-worker and student-faculty solidarity, and provide important models for labor struggles on campuses across the country. During a traditional strike, workers are able to shut down production at the factory by withholding their labor. Since our universities don’t rely on production in the same way, our tactics have to change as well. Although faculty workers may be in a unique position, workers are often unable to win a strike by simply withholding their labor; organizers must also apply direct pressure on high level decision-makers through the kinds of direct confrontations exemplified in the West Chester and Harvard strikes.

Students, faculty, and staff must be united in the fight against the corporatization of our education! Cuts to healthcare and salaries for the working class people that keep our campuses running only benefit the top level administrators, and it is our responsibility to unite all who can be united to fight against such measures. All power to campus workers, students, and professors!

October 15, 2016

National SDS Salutes the Harvard Workers Strike!

National Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) extends its utmost support to the Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) workers in their struggle for a fair contract and their decision to go on strike. As progressive and radical student organizers, we take inspiration from the bravery and determination of the HUDS workers. We know that the struggle to build universities that teach solidarity, and are founded upon racial and economic justice, is a struggle that unites students and workers across the country. We are committed to building power with the hardworking individuals that keep our universities running.

Harvard is emblematic of the ways in which corporate control of our universities directly hurts the working class people that make up our communities. When the administration of the world’s wealthiest university refuses to provide its workers with basic healthcare and a guaranteed minimum annual salary, it is bargaining on behalf of the financial elites that run the Harvard Corporation. When university administrators actively discourage students from supporting the 750 striking workers, they show their true colors.

Students have more in common with the university workers than we do with the administration, and our interests are directly at odds with those of the corporate elites that have controlled our places of learning for far too long. Who benefits from cuts to workers’ healthcare, cyclical layoffs, the contracting out of essential jobs, and the refusal to implement proactive measures to promote racial and gender equity in the workplace? The administration and the corporate elites that sit on Boards of Regents. These anti-worker policies don’t benefit students—that’s why nearly 3,000 Harvard students have already pledged support for the HUDS workers’ strike.

SDS has previously affirmed its solidarity with and support for campus workers, both in 2014 and in 2015. In a 2015 National SDS resolution, for example, we called on student organizers 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.” The thousands of students who have declared their support for the strike, and the hundreds who have reinforced the workers’ picket lines with their bodies, are learning—through struggle—how to put their solidarity into practice. These students are working with Boston-area UNITE HERE Local 26 to produce genuine improvements in the material conditions of workers and their families.

National SDS is united with the HUDS workers, and we applaud their decision to revive the strike at Harvard! All power to the workers! May their victory be swift and absolute.

October 09, 2016

SDS 11th Annual National Convention - REGISTER NOW!

We are happy to announce that Students for a Democratic Society will be holding our tenth National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 8th and 9th. Registration is now open:


October 05, 2016

SDS Stands Against Police Brutality, Fight for Black Liberation!

Police brutality is an ever-present epidemic in the United States, with the most recent victims these past several weeks being Tyre King, Terence Crutcher, Keith Lamont Scott, and Justin Car. Tyre King was an African American 13 year old shot in Columbus, Ohio by police officer Bryan Mason, who had been involved in another police shooting in 2012. This incident was followed shortly by the police murder of an African American disabled man, Keith Lamon Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Terence Crutcher's car broke down in Tulsa, Oklahoma when he was approached by three officers. His hands were in the air as he walked towards his SUV, before being tased and shot by Officer Betty Shelby. When the Tulsa Police Department released police videos of the police killing, protests ensued. Under pressure, Officer Shelby was indicted with first degree manslaughter.

Keith Lamon Scott is the one of the more recent victim of police brutality, as he was shot Tuesday night on September 20th in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was a black disabled man who was shot unjustifiably by police officers, and his death has spark numerous protests in Charlotte alone.
Justin Carr was a protestor in Charlotte who was apart of the marches against Keith Scott's murder by police officers. He was shot on September 21st, or the 2nd night of the marches in Charlotte.

To understand why police as an institution systemically oppress African Americans, it is important to note the police's origin and history since the late 1700s. Police departments have their history tied in with the Slave Patrols of the South, who sought out and hunted down escaped slaves to return them to the plantations.  Last year, 30% of black victims were unarmed when shot by the police. And, this year, fewer than 1 in 3 black people were allegedly armed or suspected of a crime when shot by the police.

Barely 60 years ago, police were heavily utilized to repress the Civil Rights Movement, as seen with March in Birmingham, Alabama. Police repression continues today, as police have already targeted organizers involved with the protests happening in Charlotte.

Students for a Democratic Society advocates for solidarity with Charlotte during these tragic times, and reaffirms its commitment to actively stand against police brutality. Several chapters of SDS from North Carolina to Texas, have been involved in organizing campaigns against police brutality, to demand justice for all victims, and to build the fight for black liberation on campuses.

Stop Police Brutality!
Fight For Black Liberation!
Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!