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What is SDS?


Who are we and what are our goals?

Students for a Democratic Society is an organization of students working together to better our country and the world! We seek more justice-making, solidarity, equality, peace and freedom in our society. This demands a broad-based, deep-rooted, and revolutionary transformation of our society, which, with your help, we are prepared to do! Together, we affirm that another world is possible: A world beyond oppression, beyond domination, beyond war and empire. A world where people have power over their own lives. We believe we stand on the cusp of something new in our generation. We have the potential to take action, organize, and relate to other movements in ways that many of us have never seen before.

We are here to win. We really believe we can create a more just society. It is possible, and we can do it – therefore we have a responsibility to do it. Our activism is not simply a matter of “fighting the good fight,” or of insularity or purity, but instead is grounded in the day-to-day reality of what it takes to build a movement that can win concrete objectives and ultimately transform society.

SDS has been an integral part of struggles for civil rights and of the anti-war movement. We are currently fighting the implementation of the pernicious draft. But our involvement is not limited to these movements. We are opposed to injustice anywhere: in the classroom, in our country, or abroad. We are committed particularly to racial equality, disarmament, jobs and abundance, civil liberties, and liberal education. We can and will work to eliminate injustice and build societies where power is accessible to all. We need your help to affect radical change on our society!

Note: Most of the text above is borrowed from the vision proposals brought up at the SDS Constitutional Convention at Wayne State University (though the text has been slightly modified). The complete text of our vision proposals can be found here.

What have we achieved?

SDS has had innumerable achievements in the past few years. We have been at the forefront of the anti-war movement for the past few years. Notably, on April 17,1965, we organized a March on Washington to protest the Vietnam War. We had 25,000 protesters and many important speeches were given, among them the speech given by our president Paul Potter. We also organized another March on Washington in November of the same year, when Carl Oglesby gave a fantastic speech. Their speeches can be found here. They are important documents that represent SDS’ mission and ideas. Just last year we organized a demonstration against the war in Vietnam in Central Park, which was attended by half a million activists. And in 1968, 40,000 students on 100 college campuses nationwide protested the war. Though SDS was not involved in all of them, our ideology and commitment to the cause were certainly factors in them. Some of our other achievements have been on a smaller scale, though equally important, including smaller demonstrations and occupation of administration offices at colleges and universities nationwide to protest the war and the draft. Some of the national projects we’ve been involved in are the Economic Research and Action Project (ERAP), the Peace Research and Education Project (PREP), and national campaigns to get people educated on current issues. We have also been involved in organizing in black ghettos. One such project was our Newark Community Union Project. SDS has been the major factor in the political reawakening of our nation’s youth that we have seen over the past few years.

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Damn the Man!