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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

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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.

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

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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Free the Jena 6!

September 26, 2007

Students rally at a demonstration called by the Black Student Movement at UNC-Chapel Hill

We, the members of the UNC Chapel Hill Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) stand in solidarity with the Jena 6, the group of six Black students unfairly charged with the attempted murder of a white classmate in Jena, Louisiana a town of 3,000 white and 350 Black residents. The school yard scuffle which ended in the six’s arrests was preempted by racist and criminal provocation after provocation by white students. It all began when a Black student sat under a “white” tree at Jena high school. The next day, nooses were hung in the tree to show that that racist history of the South will be kept alive through tradition and the use of force. Robert Bailey, one of the Black youth that was arrested was invited to an all-white party, beaten and “sent back to his side of town” by the police. Matt Windham, one of white males who attacked Robert Bailey threatened Bailey with a sawed-off shot gun and was never arrested. With every escalation in violence the school superintendent, police, D.A., and the all-white jury that convicted Mychal Bell of attempted murder sent Jena and the rest of the U.S. the same clear message: white youth are above the law and Black youth will be locked up and thrown away. The Jena 6 case has become a worldwide symbol for the continuing fight against the racist U.S. criminal injustice system. The pressure is mounting. Last week, the judge threw out Bell’s conviction because he was erroneously tried as an adult but there are 5 more youth awaiting trial. We demand that all charges be dropped against the Jena Six and we continue to stand in solidarity with their struggle.

Strength through Solidarity,

UNC Chapel Hill SDS

To learn more visit freethejena6.org

September 28 Youth Day of Action in D.C.

August 15, 2007

Greetings,

As you are probably already aware, September is shaping up to be an important month in terms of the anti-war movement in this country. There are a number of different national and local actions taking place during September with the goal of uniting those who are struggling against this war everyday and who refuse to allow occupation to continue unfettered. From September 22 to 29, activists working on a number of different struggles from around the country will be coming together in Washington, D.C. to raise the stakes in the anti-war movement during a week of direct actions against the war. While it is unfeasible for most students to be in D.C. for this entire period of time, we want to make Friday, September 28, a day for autonomous, student- and youth-led direct actions to originate from this space.

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