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Students for a Democratic Society hold Florida Day School

By Fernando Figueroa |
July 20, 2014
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Beto Soto, an Alumni of UF SDS, talking to activists about agitation. (FightBack!News/Michela Martinazzi)

Gainesville, FL – Two dozen students gathered in Gainesville, July 19, at a Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) day school. Students from the University of Florida, Florida State University, the University of South Florida, and for the first time in SDS’s history, from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville attended. Months of planning the day school on SDS National Working Committee phone calls paid off nicely.

The purpose of the day school was two fold. First, the students honed their skills by attending workshops on a variety of topics central to organizing. Students learned how to make a flyer, how to host protests and demos and how to recruit new students to SDS. Second, the students geared themselves up for a new semester at their respective universities this fall by sharpening their political ideas and campaign plans.

The workshops also included learning how to do outreach and agitation among students to build for campaigns, and what the difference was between working in coalitions and broader united front work. The day school ended with dinner and a social that night.

SDSers went home fired up to build the student movement and fight back against injustice on their campuses and in the community this fall. Morale was high; especially after Florida SDS chapters worked together this past spring to win a campaign for undocumented students to receive in-state tuition rates while attending college – the Tuition Equity campaign. Organizers plan to build on this and other successes.

Tampa Bay SDS organizer Jessica Schwartz said, “All the Florida chapters share similar concerns over transferal of leadership to younger organizers. The purpose of this is to help empower them to take leadership in SDS.”

Jacksonville SDS Organizer C.O. Scanlan said, “For someone just beginning his active involvement in an organization, the day school was incredibly encouraging. It put in clear, concrete terms the steps I need to take in providing the student struggle with another point of focus.”

Tallahassee SDS Organizer Zachary Schultz said, “The day school was an excellent opportunity to share our experiences organizing, and build unity around the methods which will lead the next generation of student activists to victory: militancy and organization.”

The main on- the-ground organizer of the day school, Michela Martinazzi from Gainesville SDS, said, “As many of the veteran SDSers graduate and move on to other struggles, it’s important that that newer organizers keep the same militant line and methods of organizing. I think today proved that all generations of SDS are organizing on the same page.”

To contact National SDS to talk about how to host a student organizer training or start an SDS chapter by visiting http://www.newsds.org/contact.

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