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SDS chapters call for student protests against Iraq war

by staff |
February 6, 2008
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Chapters of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), along with student and youth organizations from across the country are calling for rallies, marches, walkouts, direct actions and other activities on campuses during the week of March 17 to 21, marking the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war.

The SDS call to action says, “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.”

Organizers are hard at work on their campuses and in their communities building powerful campaigns against this illegal and unjust war against the Iraqi people. More groups are signing on to the call daily. “We want as many people as possible to join us in this protest,” the call reads, “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.”

Tamara Tal, graduate student at the University of North Carolina (UNC) and organizer with UNC-Chapel Hill SDS, said, "UNC-Chapel Hill SDS is reaching out to over thirty student organizations, along with campus workers and faculty, in order to build a broad coalition to protest the war on the fifth anniversary of the invasion. Last year, five hundred students walked out of class and marched through downtown Chapel Hill, shutting down traffic with the message of 'no more business as usual'. This year, we're raising the stakes and bringing that message home to the university: we want the university administration to cut their ties with military recruiters, war profiteers and Army research labs."

In Asheville, North Carolina, the UNC-Asheville Chapter of SDS is working with local community organizations like Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) to build a large rally and march downtown following a walkout on their campus. Asheville IVAW president, Jason Hurd, said, “I have worked with SDS on a number of occasions and found them to be some of the most intelligent organizers in the anti-war movement. My chapter and I fully support SDS’s efforts to organize for the fifth anniversary of the war.”

In New Brunswick, New Jersey, the Rutgers SDS/Tent State University chapter is working with many other campus organizations to build toward a mass walkout. The walkout promises to be bigger and bolder than last year’s, which culminated in a march on a local highway.

“We’re working with a very diverse coalition of student groups, but we’re also trying our hardest to reach out to students who aren’t involved - which is to say most of the campus. We’re organizing in the dorms, in the classrooms, at parties and on the quad - just trying to get as many people as possible involved in actively participating in the event,” said Tent State/SDS organizer Timothy Horras. “In 2007 we had about 400 students at the event, but if we really organize our base and reach deep into the student population I think we can far exceed last year in terms of both numbers and militancy.”

The call was also endorsed at the recent Midwest and Southeast SDS Regional Conventions and the Northeast Regional Convention in Philadelphia passed a resolution supporting organizing mass student protests against the U.S. occupation of Iraq. In addition, the call has been endorsed by Fight Imperialism Stand Together, Our Spring Break, Iraq Media Action Project and the Asheville, North Carolina chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

For more information see: www.newsds.org/march20