Workers Vanguard No. 900

12 October 2007


The New SDS: A Correction


3 October 2007

Dear Young Spartacus,

The introduction to “Racial Oppression and Working-Class Politics” in WV 897 wrongly describes the new Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) as a “liberal talkshop whose main purpose so far seems to be drawing in youth to aid the Democrats’ prospects in the 2008 elections.” In our experience in New York, many SDS members have been repeatedly arrested in direct action protests. In March, for example, 23 SDS members were arrested after occupying a military recruiting center in lower Manhattan for two hours. Different SDS chapters have different characters—some are more explicitly anti-communist and anarchoid, some are more social-democratic, and some are influenced by ostensibly socialist organizations like the reformists of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (the Workers World Party’s youth organization).

What binds SDS together is lowest-common-denominator bourgeois liberal pressure politics. This means seeking to reform racist U.S. imperialism through appeals to the Democratic Party. This was illustrated at the SDS workshop at this spring’s Left Forum, where we exposed Manning Marable, the chair of the Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS—SDS’s “non-student” affiliate), for calling for a vote to John Kerry in the 2004 elections. We also pointed to the lessons of the Russian Revolution as a model for how to end capitalist exploitation. These two arguments evoked a hysterical uproar as MDS and SDS members in the room denounced us and the model of the Russian Revolution and “ideology.” This hostility toward “ideology” is an expression of anti-communism. What we want to argue with SDS members about is our revolutionary politics—not whether or not they are a talkshop.

Hal S.
New York Spartacus Youth Club