March 23, 2008

ACTIVISM: revival of SDS

Should I survive the illness I have, I will have PLENTY to say about this.

Much of what I read is just totally inaccurate as to SDS history.

I still believe SDS is relevant to today's need for a comprehensive movement - whether it will cover all the bases is going to be obvious quite soon.

Old SDSers never really die; we just change the music we listen to as we get older.

I find it interesting about the Shaker Heights connection -

I hope the women SDSers of today fare far better than I did, is all I can say right now.

The issues of my day, are not any different the issues of today.

There is genuine hope as we see the emergence of this powerful movement today, a sign that maybe some anti elite forces can be united by Good Ethical Leadership

(and guyz and grrlz in SDS - beware the plants and CONINTELPRO! It doesn't take long for them to show en masse.)

I remember in 1968, returning to my former high school to talk about Vietnam - an unforgettable experience.


Revived SDS joins anti-war protest

By Terry Oblander / Plain Dealer

A revolutionary student organization that died nearly four decades ago returned to Cleveland Thursday on the Shaker rapid.

About 50 members of the Students for a Democratic Society club at Shaker Heights High School poured out of Terminal Tower and joined another 30 students already at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. Thursday's protest against the war was the first for the "new" SDS in Cleveland.

This is not your grandfather's SDS from the '60s - but it kind of looked like it.

Josh Davidson, a leader of the Shaker Heights SDS, said students are drawn to the SDS for one reason: "The war is the focal point, definitely the focal point," he said.

The first SDS was born in Port Huron, Mich., in 1962 amid the buildup to the Vietnam War. After seven years of leftist proselytizing and confrontations with authority, the SDS broke apart at its 1969 convention.

The group was reconstituted in 2006 in Chicago. The SDS Web site claims to have 88 chapters, including ones at Shaker Heights High School, Lakeland Community College in Kirtland and Ohio University in Athens.

Shaker freshman Julia Celeste, 14, the granddaughter of former Ohio Gov. Richard Celeste, said weekly club meetings after school on Fridays usually draw 20 to 30 students. She admitted she was scared to death when she took a bullhorn and talked to Thursday's crowd of about 140 anti-war protesters.

"I don't want to count the number of those who died in this pointless war," she told a cheering audience.

On the first day of spring, a nasty wind wasn't friendly to the anti-war demonstrators. At the Public Square monument, members of the Northeast Ohio Anti-War Coalition - a co-sponsor of the protest - strung the names of about 3,990 Americans killed in the Iraq war.

SDS members then led the crowd on a march to the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building.

Greg Coleridge, of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee, said he was impressed by the young SDS members who helped plan Thursday's demonstrations. He said he felt the young people were attracted to the new SDS because they needed a voice free from adult influence and access to a democratic process.

Harvey Pekar of Cleveland Heights, the author of "Students for a Democratic Society: A Graphic History," said he felt that the war and the failing economy were key reasons that the new SDS was drawing members from blue-collar neighborhoods.

"The old SDS had an advantage the new SDS does not have. They had the draft," said Pekar, a Cleveland Heights resident.

Thursday's afternoon rally lasted a little more than an hour. After numerous speeches, Davidson announced it was time for the SDS members to go back to the rapid.

The demonstrators hadn't run out of things to say.

The bullhorn's battery died

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