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Momentum Grows for March 20 Student Day of Action Against the War

by Brad Sigal |
March 14, 2007
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flyer calling for student walk out
Enter the caption for the photograph here. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

At colleges and high schools across the country, students are building for a day of protests on March 20 against the U.S. war in Iraq. Students at more than 60 schools have protests planned on that day, in the largest coordinated day of student anti-war protests in years. A press release for the March 20 actions says, "In the space of just three weeks, over sixty campuses have signed onto the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) call to action—from Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Grand Rapids, Michigan; from high schools in central North Carolina to the west coast campus of UC Santa Barbara; from urban centers of Chicago, Boston, New York, and Los Angeles to rural campuses of Tennessee and Iowa—and in dozens of places in between."

The call for March 20 student anti-war protests came out of an SDS meeting at last November's protest against the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia. Many SDS chapters are organizing March 20 protests, but the day of action has become broader as other student / youth organizations have also joined in, including the Campus Antiwar Network and World Can't Wait's youth group.

In the March 20 press release, Kati Ketz of the University of North Carolina-Asheville SDS, one of the initiators of the day of action says, "What started out as four schools participating in a day of action snowballed into 18, 25, 34, and now over 60 schools from all over the country standing up and taking action against this illegal and unjust war and occupation of Iraq. It's incredibly inspiring to see students taking up this call to action and organizing on a local level. Students are becoming united and organized across the country against the war, and we're really going to see a new student movement emerge out of these actions."

Anti-war Momentum Builds

On February 15, students at 27 schools participated in a day of action against the war initiated by students at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). The February 15 UCSB protest inspired the anti-war movement around the country as over a thousand students marched and took over a highway for two hours, then marched back to campus to demand that their university cut ties to military research. On March 12, New York City SDS chapters marched to a military recruiting station, then shut it down for almost two hours until 23 students were arrested. This month SDS in Washington State has targeted the Port of Tacoma, where protesters have been tear gassed and dozens of people have been arrested in a series of protests for more than a week at the port where Stryker vehicles and other equipment are being loaded on a ship for Iraq. On March 17, SDS chapters will have a contingent in the national March on the Pentagon. Momentum is building toward a broad and energetic day of action at schools across the country on March 20.

During this school year the anti-war movement has grown quickly on campuses. In that context Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) is becoming a dynamic student activist organization that is playing a key role in the anti-war movement. Dozens of active SDS chapters have sprung up at schools around the country. SDS is growing because of a commitment to mobilizing students to take action against imperialist war while making connections to other issues, and because of its commitment to an open, democratic and non-sectarian approach. SDS takes its name from the well-known 1960s student organization that played a leading role in catalyzing the movement against the Vietnam War. With the bold protests over the past month and with the upcoming March 20 coordinated day of protests, SDS is increasingly at the center of the growing student movement to stop the U.S. war in Iraq.

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For information on the March 20 student day of action against the war, see http://march20antiwar.blogspot.com or email march20antiwar (at) hotmail.com

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