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Excitement Builds for SDS National Convention and Education Rights

By Kas Schwerdtfeger

SDS Members protest the war in Afghanistan.

Milwaukee, WI — The new school year has started at many campuses and members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) are preparing for this year’s important SDS National Convention. Set for Oct. 22-24 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the convention will be the first since the historic March 4 Protests for Education Rights that took place in 36 states around the country. Because of the greatest economic crisis since the 1930’s Great Depression, most state governments are now in budget crisis, with politicians trying to shift the burden onto working people and making cuts to public education. SDS is building the movement opposing cuts to public education and hopes their fall convention draws more new students to attend and coordinate plans for the school year.

Some SDS chapters plan to attend the Oct. 2 march for jobs, education and equality in Washington D.C. SDS leaders hope the big march will add energy to the National Day of Action for Education Rights planned for campuses on Oct. 7. With school just starting, over 20 SDS chapters are already organizing events and protests along with other student groups across the country. Returning students are likely to revive or form new SDS chapters and SDS leaders hope that many will attend the SDS National Convention in Milwaukee, where 16 students were arrested last spring during an education rights protest on March 4. The militant Milwaukee protest led to the announced resignation of the chancellor and slowed some cutbacks and a privatization plan.

Discussion of education rights, as well as SDS's participation in the environmental, labor, anti-discrimination and anti-police brutality movements will be a major part of the weekend.

University of Minnesota student Grace Kelley said, “At last year's SDS convention, I was inspired by the reports from other chapters about their successful actions in the national movement for education rights. I am looking forward to comparing notes on actions and tactics with SDSers and other students this October.”

In Milwaukee, preparations are being made to provide free food and housing for all SDSers and participants. Looking forward to the convention, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee student Michael Raspanti said, “It’s one thing to participate in conference calls for a national student organization. I feel it could be so much more empowering though to actually meet fellow SDSers, face to face, who I work with to build the student movement on a national level.”

Towards the end of the semester, from Nov. 19-22, SDS is mobilizing for the protest to “Close the School of the Americas” at Fort Benning, Georgia, where the U.S. military trains Colombian military death squads. Angela Denio of University of North Carolina-Asheville SDS says, “The new SDS started mainly as an anti-war group and we think joining the 20,000 activists in exposing and shutting down the U.S. military’s death squad school is a priority.”

For students and youth coming from great distances, or who are cash-strapped due to the many tuition increases around the country, scholarships will be available through National SDS.

For more information, look to or contact National SDS at [email protected]

Build the student movement! Join SDS at its Convention this fall!

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