Press Release #2

For Immediate Release
February 4, 2008
Students for a Democratic Society March 20 Working Group
Contact: march20sds@gmail.com

Chapters of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and other student and youth organizations from around the country, from the North East to the Mid West, from North Carolina and Alabama to Washington and Colorado, will be participating in a call to hold rallies, marches, walkouts, direct actions and other activities on campuses during the week of March 17th to 21st, 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 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 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, NC, 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 5th anniversary of the war.”

At Rutgers – New Brunswick, the Tent State/SDS chapter is working with many other campus organizations to build toward a mass walkout which promises to be bigger and bolder than last year’s, which culminated in a march onto 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.”

As of now, 33 SDS chapters and progressive groups have signed onto the call:

  1. UNC-Asheville SDS
  2. UNC-Chapel Hill SDS
  3. Tacoma SDS
  4. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities SDS
  5. Drew University SDS
  6. Animas SDS at Fort Lewis College (Durango, CO)
  7. Eleanor Roosevelt High School SDS
  8. University of Georgia
  9. New York City MDS
  10. New York City FIST
  11. UNC-Charlotte SDS
  12. University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa SDS
  13. University of Illinois Chicago SDS and Students for Justice in Palestine
  14. Central Dauphin SDS (Harrisburg, PA)
  15. The College of New Jersey
  16. Gainesville SDS
  17. Eastern Illinois University SDS
  18. Columbus, OH World Can’t Wait
  19. Rutgers University – Tent State University / SDS – Walkout!
  20. University Central Florida SDS & MDS
  21. Tuscarura High School SDS, Frederick MD
  22. War Resisters League, Staten Island NY
  23. Asheville High School
  24. Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
  25. Michigan State University Green Party
  26. University of North Dakota SDS
  27. George Mason University SDS (VA)
  28. Athens SDS (OH)
  29. James Madison University SDS (VA)
  30. Lakeland Community College SDS (Cleveland, OH)
  31. ACTIVATE SDS (Grand Rapids, MI)
  32. Harvard SDS and Anti-War Coalition
  33. Wesleyan University (CT)

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

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

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