Support the UF Hunger Strike! Support Socially Responsible Investing!

April 22, 2008

On April 9th, 2008, members of UF’s Students for a Democratic Society (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2217745874) shared a “last supper” (composed of Reggae Shack curry tempeh) on the steps of Tigert Hall. At least 12 people have committed to some level of participation in this hunger strike, including some that will be consuming nothing but water until our Socially Responsible Investing proposal is accepted by the University of Florida. We need your help in letting the administration know that they can no longer ignore us and our proposal.

Call Bernie Machen himself and let him know what you think about his refusal to put UF’s money where its mouth is. Ask him if the possibility that our university is profiting off of war, environmental destruction, and human rights abuses is okay with him.

Phone: (352) 392-1311
Fax: (352) 392-9506
Email: President@ufl.edu
Office of the President, 226 Tigert Hall, PO Box 113150,
Gainesville, FL 32611

Other administrators you can talk to:

Student Body President: president@sg.ufl.edu

Office of Sustainability Director Dedee DeLongpre: dedee@ufl.edu, (352) 392-1336

Ask them to publicly declare their support for the hunger strikers and their SRI proposal.

Thanks for your support!

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Support Antiwar Protestors Arrested at UA!

March 4, 2008

Student Activists, Iraq Vet Arrested in “Mock Raid”

Four protesters were arrested and charged with “disorderly conduct” after members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) staged a mock-raid with Jason Hurd, member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW).

Hurd, along with members of Tuscaloosa- SDS and Asheville-SDS, were detained for over four hours on Friday, Feb. 29th, before being taken away in handcuffs to Tuscaloosa City Jail. During interrogation, UA-PD insinuated the protesters were terrorists and threatened to hand the case over the F.B.I. They bail was set for a total of $2,500. The non-students were also charged with trespassing and are now banned from university property.

The University has already released a statement condemning the action, claiming it “may have been alarming to those in the area” and that they “will not tolerate behavior that mimics a true emergency on our campus.” Several news sources have reported that the University plans on launching an investigation against the Tuscaloosa chapter of SDS, a officially registered student organization.

“If you are one of those people who was frightened, you had a glimpse of what it feels like to be an Iraqi man, woman or child who experiences things like this and worse everyday,” said J VanBolt, a UA student who witnessed the mock raid. “That is life for people in Iraq.”

We, Tuscaloosa-SDS, condemn the actions of the University, which we feel was not only exaggerated, but politically motivated. We demand that all charges be dropped. We want an apology from the University for their attempts to equate protesting with terrorism and violence. We refuse to be intimidated and harassed on our own campus.

We are urging supporters to contact the University, to let them know their will not be tolerated! We have a right to protest the unjust and illegal occupation of Iraq. We have a right to make students aware of the immense suffering the U.S. occupation is causing the Iraqi people. Please help us put pressure on the University to DROP ALL CHARGES NOW!

PROTEST IS NOT A CRIME! U.S. OUT OF IRAQ!!!!

In solidarity,

SDS-Tuscaloosa

For more information, contact
Jenae Stainer, 661.477.4333, jnstainer@bama.ua.edu
Chapin Gray, 251.605.7780, chapinrose@gmail.com

To show support for the four arrested, you can call the University President, Dr. Robert Witt, at (205) 348-5320 and demand that all charges be dropped. You can also contact Tim Hebson, Dean of Students and Director of Judicial Affairs thebson@sa.ua.edu or Todd Borst, Assistant Director of Judicial Affairs tborst@sa.ua.edu. You can also sign our online petition- http://www.petitiononline.com/tusc2612/petition.html.

If you would like to donate money directly to the SDS-Tuscaloosa account to help cover court costs, click here: https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=7gYwSgAZBkT08gyfNH8kaAv95Eu2nWt2jxou2uzhk_55r92El8RTGlR_Qpe&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f35bed810ca29224194ca8b1b097b67190a72a7a4da266138

Also, Jason Hurd from IVAW will be speaking in Tuscaloosa on March 26th, his scheduled court date. Time/locaton: TBA.

Jason Hurd from IVAW, UNC-A and UofA SDS members arrested

March 1, 2008

Earlier today, members of the Tuscaloosa chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, along with Jeremy Miller from UNCA-SDS and Jason Hurd from the Asheville chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) staged a mock raid. SDS-Tuscaloosa invited Hurd to their campus to speak on his experiences in Iraq, and the mock raid (a theatrical reenactment of a military raid of Iraqi civilians) was intended to demonstrate to students the human cost of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Weeks earlier, Hurd led a similar action at UNC-A, which received much attention on their campus and their community (see one local paper’s article “Vets shed light on Iraq service”- http://citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200880211101).

However, after the mock-raid was staged, and Hurd spoke to onlookers, explaining purpose of the action, about a dozen cops surrounded four of the participants, and after questioning, took them into a closed room in the Student Services center, where they were detained for over four hours, without being allowed contact with others or a lawyer, before finally being charged with disorderly conduct and taken to city jail, where their bail was set for a total of $2,500.

We, along with members of the Tuscaloosa community, have condemned the University’s actions, seeing the response of campus police as not only excessive and unwarranted, but also as an act of intimidation that essentially attempts to deny students the right to protest. We see “street theater” as a way to creatively, vividly, and poignantly demonstrate the effects of the occupation, and do not apologize for speaking out against the war.

We, as students, feel that our rights to free speech and expression have been violated, and we shudder to think of what kind of society we live in where students, holding harmless protests are met with indefinite detention and arrest.

We do not apologize for our protest being disruptive. The U.S. invasion of Iraq was disruptive. The post-traumatic stress countless US soldiers experience upon their return is disruptive. Our goal is to end the occupation of Iraq, a war waged for economic and political control over the Middle East, a war that has caused the deaths of over 600,000 Iraqis, and displaced millions from their homes.

We have a right to protest peacefully what we feel is unjust. Help us defend our rights as students- whether letting the University know their actions are unacceptable, helping with bail costs, or sending statements of solidarity, your support helps us carry on this fight against censorship, intimidation, and harassment by our own University.

DROP ALL CHARGES!

For more information, contact
Jenae Stainer, 661.477.4333
Chapin Gray, 251.605.7780

UNCA Counter-Recruitment Action

February 8, 2008

Joint Statement on Counter-Recruitment Action of Tuesday Feb 5th, 2008

The members of UNC-Asheville Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Asheville chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) oppose the unjust and immoral war being waged by the U.S. government against the people of Iraq. We oppose this war for many reasons. In particular, we oppose the war because it violates the sovereignty of Iraq’s people and their national right to self-determination. Furthermore, the U.S. government forces service members to fight an illegal war. We recognize that the military-industrial complex, corporate profiteering and imperialist designs fuel this war on an oil-rich and strategically important region.

In order to voice our opposition, UNCA SDS and IVAW-Asheville chose to set up a counter-recruitment table across from the U.S. Marine Corps table. During this time, we staged a mock raid involving members of SDS and IVAW. Two IVAW members and two SDSers stormed the Student Union and seized three students playing the roles of Iraqi civilians. The “soldiers” were dressed in combat gear and the “civilians” were dressed in traditional Iraqi garb. The “soldiers” shouted commands (with profanity) to the “civilians” to get on the ground, forced them down, interrogated them, zip-tied their hands, placed sacks over their heads, and took them away. IVAW-Asheville president Jason Hurd said, “This scenario is based entirely in reality. It is based on the first-hand experience of Mike Robinson, a fellow IVAW member and participant in this action. I also spoke personally with many Iraqi citizens during my tour who explained that raids like this one occur daily in occupied Iraq.”

The guerrilla theater that took place on the 5th is in no way meant as an attack on individual military members, but rather as a statement against war and militarism as well as an indictment against the criminal regime here at home. Our government exploits U.S. soldiers who come predominantly from working-class and oppressed communities. Only the rich profit from this war. Therefore, we express solidarity with all U.S. service members; we see them as our natural allies in the fight against all oppression.

Unfortunately, we realize that our government trains military recruiters to use deception as a means to maintain America’s wars. For instance, military recruiters downplay the probability that new recruits will serve in combat. Furthermore, recruiters over-emphasize college money, job training, and other veterans benefits to gloss over every service member’s primary function: to fight and win America’s wars. Recruiters conveniently leave out details concerning combat service which may frighten potential recruits; instead, recruiters emphasize fun, travel and adventure.

In the real world, veterans age 20-24 are twice as likely as their peers to be unemployed. Only 5.6% of returning veterans use the college money available to them. On average, these funds only cover half the cost of public university tuition or one-fifth the cost at a private college. 75% of African Americans and 67% of Latinos experience racism while serving. 28% of women report being raped while in the service, and many rapes go completely unreported. Only 12% of males and 6% of females make use of skills they learn in the military. Finally, U.S. war veterans are twice as likely to kill themselves as ordinary civilians.

SDS and IVAW want all U.S. troops out of Iraq NOW! We realize the futility and criminality of this ongoing occupation and we see the correlation between high-levels of violence and U.S. presence in Iraq. SDS member and participant in Tuesday’s action, Angela Denio said, “This war is a complete injustice perpetrated against the people of Iraq. The anti-war movement must rise in solidarity with the Iraqi people and their just struggle for national liberation.” From this point forward, whenever any military recruiter sets foot on UNCA campus, SDS and IVAW-Asheville commit to countering their efforts by building a community movement that resists and disrupts war and militarism.

National Days of Student Action Against the Iraq War

January 25, 2008

The following call to action was unanimously endorsed by the Southeast SDS convention, January 18-21 in Tuscaloosa, AL.

NATIONAL DAYS OF STUDENT ACTION AGAINST THE IRAQ WAR
ALL OUT FOR MARCH 20, 2008

This March will mark a grim milestone – the fifth anniversary of the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq. Despite the clear mandate from the American people to end the occupation, the U.S. government continues to wage war upon the Iraqi people. Bush’s mocking response to dwindling public support for the war has been the “troop surge,” or simply more of the same, while simultaneously threatening neighboring countries like Iran. For their part, the Democrats refuse to commit to a clear anti-war stance, even as they try to posture as the opposition party. Meanwhile, the threat of domestic recession looms, racist attacks increase, and millions lack decent housing, jobs, education, and health-care.

The war will drag on for many more years–draining billions of dollars and resulting in thousands of more causalities, both American and Iraqi, on top of the hundreds of thousands already killed, injured, and displaced–unless the people stand up and fight for change.

Every year, there have been protests marking the anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that was launched on the basis of lies and deceit. Students have historically had an especially important role in the struggles against racism and war, and we continue to do so today. Last March, over 80 high schools and colleges answered the call by chapters of Students for a Democratic Society to come together to send one loud resounding NO to the Bush administration and the Republican agenda, to the Democrats who refuse to carry out the mandate of their constituents, and to the University administrations that so often support war efforts.

This March, SDS is urging all students, as part of the broader community of people of conscience, to voice our opposition to the war in Iraq. As the presidential election nears, candidates need to be sent a clear message: we will not stand for vague time lines and empty promises, we will not tolerate sanctions, threats, and aggression against Iran, and that we will stand in solidarity with the Iraqi people who are struggling to liberate their country.

We want as many people as possible to join us in this protest; the larger the protest the stronger the impact we have, and the sooner we can help end this war. We are calling on any and all student and youth based organizations that are opposed to the war in Iraq to mobilize their memberships, their campus, their community and hit the streets for the week of March 17-21, with March 20 as the focal point.* We are calling on students to take action on their own campuses, where we have the power to reach the entire student body with our message and build resistance on our own campuses. We are calling on our fellow students and youth to take the lead and do whatever it takes–from rallies, marches, walk-outs, civil disobedience, and direct action–to send a clear message to the U.S. government: Get out of Iraq Now!

U.S. OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST!
GET ORGANIZED, GET INVOLVED, GET IN THE STREETS!

Students for a Democratic Society

March 20th Working Group

January 4, 2008

Contact march20sds@gmail.com if you would like to sign on to the call.
http://march20sds.wordpress.com

*This call is flexible so that each campus/community can organize an action that works best for them. For instance, if March 20th is an inconvenient date due to Spring Break, actions can be held in the weeks prior to or after 3/20. We are encouraging those who are on spring break during this week to mobilize their chapters to participate in the anti-war actions being held in D.C. on the 19th; for more information on the actions in DC, email dcsds@riseup.net.

Resolution in support of the International Worker Justice Campaign

January 23, 2008

The following resolution was unanimously endorsed by the 3rd regional convention of SDS chapters in the South, January 18-21 in Tuscaloosa, AL.

For fifty years, public sector workers in North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia have had their human rights violated by Jim Crow era laws that prohibit collective bargaining agreements with their employer. Because of these laws, hundreds of thousands of workers in the South are left without the ability to collectively negotiate binding agreements.

The result is that public sector workers in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia suffer from substandard wages, inadequate healthcare, insufficient pensions, discrimination and harassment on the job, racist attacks, and more.

The laws that prohibit collective bargaining for public sector workers in these states are a hold over from Jim Crow. These laws exist to suppress the labor movement generally, but in particular they serve to stifle the collective strength of Black workers in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. That is because historically there has been a high concentration of Black workers in the public sector in these states.

The right to collective bargaining is a fundamental human right. It is what allows workers to collectively reach agreements on wages, healthcare, and other issues that are binding upon their employer. With it, they are able to negotiate fair contracts that meet their needs. Without it, the workers are subject to the whims of the bosses.

The International Worker Justice Campaign is a project of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, a democratic and independent union (ueunion.org). For over three years, union organizers with UE in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia have been working tirelessly to build worker power on the shop floor, and to build a broad grassroots movement to repeal the anti-worker laws in these states.

They need our support. Important legislative battles are on the horizon that would overturn the anti-worker laws and empower public sector workers. This would be a huge victory for labor in these three states; further, it would be a giant stride forward for the labor movement in the South as a whole.

As students and youth in SDS, we have an important role to play in this historic campaign. Some of the worst exploitation of public sector workers happens right where we organize–on high school and college campuses. Our schools are battlegrounds in the overall struggle to win collective bargaining rights for public sector workers, and as students and youth, we must dedicate ourselves to giving real support and solidarity to these workers in their fight for justice and equality.

Therefore, let it be resolved that the 3rd Southern SDS Regional convention hereby:

1. Endorse the International Worker Justice campaign;
2. That delegates attending will bring back this resolution to their local chapters for endorsement;
3. That delegates attending will pledge to support the campaign through signing endorsements, raising awareness, and/or organizing events around the IWJC in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

SDS 3rd Southeast Regional Convention

December 28, 2007
Students for a Democratic Society
3rd Southeast Regional Convention
Tuscaloosa, January 18th -21st

Calling all student and youth activists in the Southeast- Organize the South!

SDS at the University of Alabama invites you to Tuscaloosa to participate in the Southeast SDS Regional Convention January 18th – 21st. SDS chapters and other progressive student organizations will be coming together that weekend to network, share skills, and plan future actions.

There are many issues in the South- housing rights struggles in New Orleans, hate crimes in Jena, labor struggles in North Carolina, the CIW fight for workers’ rights in Florida- that we as young, student activists work to organize our campuses and communities around.

The Southeast SDS convention hopes to facilitate communication between chapters in the South to help us as we try to struggle against racist oppression, labor exploitation, and the war. Likewise, the convention will offer a space where students and youth can share their experiences in organizing the Red states and a place where we can plan future campaigns and actions for the upcoming the semester.

The Southeast Convention Working Group is working on a schedule, reaching out to other chapters and organizations in the Southeast, and preparing press releases to publicize the convergence of activists. If
you are interested in getting involved, feel free to join in; you can join the google group for updates, discussion, and planning conference call announcements. Or join the facebook group “sds SE convention.”

The weekend will be filled with plenty of workshops and skill-shares; if you are interested in organizing a workshop or discussion on a topic of interest, please let the planning working group know by e-mailing or the convention listserv: .

Please visit the survey page to RSVP:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=8QbRBHK6QbaOuhP_2b5w_2bPGw_3d_3d
Please fill out once per chapter or specify if you are registering
individually so we can get a feel for numbers and needs!

Housing and breakfast will be provided for by SDS-Tuscaloosa, though donations to cover convention costs are certainly welcome! Ride and housing boards will be up and running soon!

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!

SDS Tuscaloosa: sdstuscaloosa AT gmail.com
Christine Jackson, cajackson AT gmail.com
Chapin Gray, chapinrose AT gmail.com
Alyse Deller, alysedeller AT gmail.com

Shutdown the School of the Americas!

November 30, 2007

sds-at-soa-flyer.jpg

Struggle for Collective Bargaining Rights in NC Builds

October 28, 2007

Below is a report-back from Salma Mirza, a member of Student Action with Workers here at UNC Chapel Hill and an ally of SDS locally. SDSers helped organize and participated in the action below. If you’re at a state school in NC, please get in touch because the struggle to win collective bargaining rights for public sector workers is something all of us need to support and coordinate on.

In struggle,

Kosta
UNC-Chapel Hill SDS

———- Forwarded message ———-

Chanting “workers rights are human rights,” in the rain at 4 pm today, twenty undergraduates, graduate students, workers, and community members presented the signatures of five hundred people who support NC worker rights to President Erskine Bowles. Although President Bowles was not in his office, the petitions were received by Jeffrey Davies, his Chief of Staff. We have requested a response from Bowles to the petition demands, reiterated as follows:

Stop Censorship of Workers’ Human Right to Collectively Bargain!

To: UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Moeser and UNC System President Bowles

We the following members of the UNC-Chapel Hill community support UNC and Triangle area workers in their struggles to exercise their right to collective bargaining and support the repeal of Jim Crow-era N.C. G.S . 95-98, which criminalizes that right for public workers. We demand the following:

-that you reverse the University Gazette’s decision to censor the collective bargaining article from the Employee Forum’s newsletter insert
-that a written apology is sent to the Daily Tar Heel and that the article is sent to all students, alumni and UNC community members
-that the University community is encouraged to discuss collective bargaining issues in open forums attended by the administration

The action and the petition demands, in addition to UE Local 150 and
five hundred students, workers, and community members who signed the
petition, was endorsed by SAW, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS),
the Young Democrats, and SURGE (Students United for a Responsible
Global Environment).

This action was possible through the hard work of canvasing and
petition signatures that yall collected, and it was a success. Let’s
keep up the pressure! Yall have mobilized a ton of campus support just
in the past two months– imagine what the rest of this year will be
like!

Troops Out Now! SDS in DC

September 30, 2007

About 80 SDSers from Gainesville, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Richmond, and elsewhere converge on DC for the Troops Out Now Coalition protest against the war in Iraq.

SDS contingent

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