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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

isit time for the "New SDS"

Beginning January 2006, a movement to revive the SDS took shape. A small group of SDS veterans (Robert Alan Haber, Tom Good, Paul Buhle) have joined with high school students, Jessica Rapchick and Pat Korte, to call for a new formation of SDS in to build a multi-issue organization that could re-envision a student movement in the United States. Several chapters at various colleges were subsequently formed. On Martin Luther King Day of 2006, these chapters banded together to issue a press release that stated their intentions to reform the national SDS organization.[4] In the press release, the SDS called for the organization's first national convention since 1969 to be held in the summer of 2006 and to have it preceded by a series of regional conferences occurring during the Memorial Day weekend. These regional conferences would not also be the first of their kind to be held since 1969, however, as on April 23, 2006, the SDS held a northeast regional conference at Brown University.

Future 5000 describes the new SDS as grounded in the principles of Participatory Democracy and Student Syndicalism. SDS seeks to promote the active participation of young people in a movement to build a society free from white supremacy, patriarchy, poverty, war, imperialism, exploitation, and environmental destruction. Within its first year, the new SDS has grown to include hundreds of chapters and thousands of members.

The new SDS has organized and participated in numerous actions against the Iraq War and made clear its opposition to any possible military action against Iran by the US. The Pace University chapter of SDS protested against a speech by Bill Clinton held at the University's Pleasantville campus, prompting the university to hand over two students, Lauren Giaccone and Brian Kelly, to the United States Secret Service. After the threatened expulsion of the two protesters, Pace SDS began a campaign that has thus far forced a Pace administrator to resign.

Origins

The Students for a Democratic Society developed from the youth branch of a socialist educational organization known as the League for Industrial Democracy (LID) which descended from the Intercollegiate Socialist Society, started in 1905. SDS held its first meeting in 1960 at Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Robert Alan Haber was elected president. Its political manifesto, known as the Port Huron Statement, was adopted at the organization's first convention in 1962, based on an earlier draft by staff member Tom Hayden. This manifesto criticized the political system of the United States for failing to achieve international peace and for failing to address social ills in contemporary society. It also advocated non-violent civil disobedience as the means by which student youth could bring forth a "participatory democracy."

At Port Huron, Hayden clashed with Irving Howe and Michael Harrington over the perceived potential for totalitarianism. Hayden said:

"While the draft Port Huron Statement included a strong denunciation of the Soviet Union, it wasn't enough for LID leaders like Michael Harrington. They wanted absolute clarity, for example, that the United States was blameless for the nuclear arms race...In truth, they seemed threatened by the independence of the new wave of student activism..."Origins

The Students for a Democratic Society developed from the youth branch of a socialist educational organization known as the League for Industrial Democracy (LID) which descended from the Intercollegiate Socialist Society, started in 1905. SDS held its first meeting in 1960 at Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Robert Alan Haber was elected president. Its political manifesto, known as the Port Huron Statement, was adopted at the organization's first convention in 1962, based on an earlier draft by staff member Tom Hayden. This manifesto criticized the political system of the United States for failing to achieve international peace and for failing to address social ills in contemporary society. It also advocated non-violent civil disobedience as the means by which student youth could bring forth a "participatory democracy."


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