SDS Convention in Chicago

SDS meets in Chicago
Jenny Brown
September 2006

Chicago–Student organizers representing dozens of chapters around the country gathered here for the first national meeting of Students for a Democratic Society since 1969. The legendary student group was founded in 1960, and by the late 60’s its name became synonymous with the student movement and the New Left. That ‘first iteration SDS,’ as SDS northeast regional organizer Thomas Good called it, split and scattered in 1969. Local chapters continued to be active for a couple more years.

In 2006, 150 students from University of Central Florida in Orlando, Pace University in New York, Howard Community College near Baltimore, Loyola in Chicago, and many others from Washington State, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Connecticut and elsewhere spent three days, August 4-7, telling each other about their organizing and strategizing about where to go with a national radical student group.

The call for a national SDS meeting came in January from several chapters of student radicals that had formed under the name “SDS” more or less independently. Pat Korte, a high school student, noted in the January 16th announcement that “several fellow activists from across the country and myself decided to form a national SDS movement, only to discover that chapters already exist! Because of this we decided to hold a national conference.”

Why SDS in particular? Many students felt there needed to be a multi-issue radical student group that was about student power, there was a need on their campuses, and there was a need in the country. Korte said, “Although I have been an active participant in the anti-war and student activist movement, I have become frustrated with the groups collective inability to unify enough people under a common goal/vision to address the overall problems in our society. Historically, SDS was able to address many of these issues pertinent at the time through Tom Hayden’s Port Huron Statement.”

To read more, click here.

There is also additional information at the SDS and MDS Web sites (see the links in the right-hand sidebar), as well as here.

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