Category Archives: Students for a Democratic Society

Fight Back! Interview on occupation of New School

pc160008Fight Back! interviewed Eric Eingold, a member of the New School chapter of Students for a Democratic Society and one of the leaders in the New School in Exile. The New School in Exile was an occupation of a campus building to demand the resignation of president Bob Kerrey, among other demands (see Students Occupy New School, Demand President Kerrey Resign, Fight Back! December 2008). The occupation lasted for two days and won significant victories that have strengthened the student movement in the United States.

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Students Occupy New School

The following article is from Fight Back! News:

new-school-occupation-2Students Occupy New School, Demand President Kerrey Resign

New York, NY – Over 100 students are occupying the 65 5th Avenue building of the New School. The occupation began Wednesday, Dec. 17 and has the broad support of faculty and staff at the university. The New School in Exile, as the building occupation is called, is organized by the Radical Student Union (RSU), a coalition of Students for a Democratic Society, Student Environmental Action Coalition and United for Peace and Justice at New School.

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New School University is Now Occupied!

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The following demands from the students occupying the New School University are from http://www.newschoolinexile.com/:

• The removal of Bob Kerrey as president of our university

• The removal of James Murtha as executive vice president of our university

• Students, faculty, and staff elect the president, EVP, and Provost.

• Students are part of the interim committee to hire a provost.

• The removal of Robert B. Millard as treasurer of the board of trustees.

• Intelligible transparency and disclosure of the university budget and investments.

• The creation of a committee on socially responsible investments.

• The immediate suspension of capital improvement projects like the tearing down of 65 fifth Ave.
• Instead, money towards the creation of an autonomous student space.
• Instead, money towards scholarships and reducing tuition.
• Instead, money for the library and student life generally.

Sign the petition calling for President Kerrey’s resignation, http://www.petitiononline.com/nokerrey/petition.html.

Please also read this open letter and statement from the occupying students to the New School Community: Continue reading

Students for a Democratic Society supports Republic Windows and Doors workers

Students for a Democratic Society has expressed its solidarity with the factory occupation being carried out by the militant workers of Republic Windows and Doors. The following is from the national website of SDS:

Take Action in Solidarity with the Chicago Workers of Republic Windows and Doors 

chicagofactory

As students and youth, we stand in solidarity with the Chicago workers at the Republic of Windows and Doors factory in their just struggle against closure, and for the right to their jobs and health care. The wealthy bankers at Bank of America got $25 billion in the bailout, but are refusing loans to the company. The management owes over 1 million dollars in severance and vacation pay. We know it is the big bankers and bosses who have laid off, cut benefits, and sold out the worker. Everyone should support the workers’ occupation of the factory to demand workers’ rights and justice.

We join in the chant with them:

Bank of America got Bailed Out! We got Sold Out!

Students for a Democratic Society
December 7, 2008

Take Action!

1. Sign the petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/solidfac/petition.html
2. Organize a protest outside your local Bank of America this week in solidarity: http://www.jwj.org/bailout/12-08actions.html

Actions SDSers are already planning/plugging into: Visit the SDS website.

2008 Elections: Celebrate our Victories, Continue the Struggle!

studentsThe following statement is from the Stop the War! Stop McCain! working group of Students for a Democratic Society:

An historic victory has been won through struggle. Millions of people, from all sectors of society, organized and mobilized to defeat McCain and elect Barack Obama, the first African American president of the United States. The message from the masses is clear: a rejection of the war on Iraq, a repudiation of Bush’s domestic and foreign policy, and a resounding ‘no’ to the Republican agenda and the right wing. The result is a powerful blow to racism and white supremacy, and an inspiration to oppressed nationalities and youth in this country.

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North Carolina: Students and Workers Confront Palin Rally

The following article is being reposted from the website of the Stop the War! Stop McCain! working group of Students for a Democratic Society

click for more photos

By Doug Michel

Asheville, NC – When members of the University of North Carolina – Asheville Students for a Democratic Society (UNC-Asheville SDS) heard that Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was coming to hold one of her lynch mob style rallies in Asheville, there was no question of organizing a protest. Workers, students and members of the Asheville community assembled outside of the Civic Center downtown. On Oct. 26, there was an outpouring of over 300 protesters who confronted Palin and her rally of supporters.

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Election 2008: Too much is at stake!

The following is from the Stop the War! Stop McCain! working group of Students for a Democratic Society:

Welcoming Sarah Palin in Asheville, NC

Welcoming Sarah Palin in Asheville, NC

Everyone knows that this presidential election is important. The question is how to relate to it as radical activists. As activists and organizers we have to be realistic and strategic. We cannot accept the view, on the one hand, that this election can change everything, turn the system upside down, and create a participatory democratic society based on collective liberation and anti-imperialism. On the other hand, we cannot accept the view that it is necessary to avoid somehow morally soiling ourselves by participating in the election of the next Commander and Chief of the Empire. 

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Elaine Brown

Elaine Brown, former Chairperson of the Black Panther Party from 1974 to 1977, will speak at UNC-Asheville, hosted by UNCA SDS, on Oct. 30th. For more information see the website of UNC-Asheville Students for a Democratic Society and www.elainebrown.org.

For some context of the Black Panther Party and the larger Black liberation movement and its relationship to the Marxist-Leninist movement, I would encourage folks to read Black Like Mao.

Is Bush on the path to victory in Iraq?

The following was a contribution from Kosta Harlan, an organizer with Students for a Democratic Society, at a program on the Iraq war organized by the People’s Organization for Progress in Newark, NJ on October 18. The program was titled “Which way to peace in Iraq?

Is Bush on the path to victory in Iraq?

In a word: no. That’s simple enough. The whole world can see the occupation’s days are numbered. But it’s not enough to know the government’s cause is unjust or that the occupation is failing. We need to understand why.

The causes for the failure can be summed up simply:

  1. To achieve “victory” the occupation needs a political process to rule over Iraq.
  2. The Green Zone political process, the puppet government set up by the occupation authorities, is a failure.
  3. Therefore, the war will end in defeat for the United States, and in victory for the people of Iraq.

I. Why the occupation needs a puppet government

The origins of the current U.S. aggression against Iraq reside in two landmark events. The first was the 1958 revolution that swept the British-supported monarchy from power and established Iraqi independence and political sovereignty. Fourteen years later, the Baath Party nationalized the country’s oil, which ended the domination of Big Oil in Iraq. That laid the foundation for Iraq’s economic sovereignty.

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Revolutionary reflections on the election: We are the wind and the rain

I’ve been reflecting more on the need to build a mass movement to defeat John McCain and stop the reactionary Republican agenda of racism and war. Mostly, I’ve been thinking about this in terms of the The Stop the War! Stop McCain! working group of Students for a Democratic Society, which is an important initiative from radical youth and students in that direction.

paper tiger

Hearing John McCain talk about 100 years of war in Iraq, watching him spit his racist and reactionary venom, reminds me of something Mao Zedong, the leader of the Chinese revolution, once said.

Now U.S. imperialism is quite powerful, but in reality it isn’t. It is very weak politically because it is divorced from the masses of the people and is disliked by everybody and by the American people too. In appearance it is very powerful but in reality it is nothing to be afraid of, it is a paper tiger. Outwardly a tiger, it is made of paper, unable to withstand the wind and the rain… When we say U.S. imperialism is a paper tiger, we are speaking in terms of strategy. Regarding it as a whole, we must despise it. But regarding each part, we must take it seriously. It has claws and fangs… Strategically, we must utterly despise U.S. imperialism. Tactically, we must take it seriously. In struggling against it, we must take each battle, each encounter, seriously. At present, the United States is powerful, but when looked at in a broader perspective, as a whole and from a long-term viewpoint, it has no popular support, its policies are disliked by the people, because it oppresses and exploits them. For this reason, the tiger is doomed. Therefore, it is nothing to be afraid of and can be despised. But today the United States still has strength, turning out more than 100 million tons of steel a year and hitting out everywhere. That is why we must continue to wage struggles against it, fight it with all our might and wrest one position after another from it. And that takes time… It seems that the countries of the Americas, Asia and Africa will have to go on quarrelling with the United States till the very end, till the paper tiger is destroyed by the wind and the rain.

U.S. Imperialism is a Paper Tiger 

I think we have a lot to learn from what Mao says here about the strategy and tactics of dealing with paper tigers.

Unfortunately there is very often on the Left an abstentionist view put forward, a view that the problem is systemic and the voting makes no difference. This view argues that we should put forward a principled opposition to electoral poltiics. I don’t agree. Continue reading