New Students for a Democratic Society

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New Students for a Democratic Society is a relaunch of the old SDS.

Chapters past and present


MDS board members Bert Garskof, Al Haber and Bernardine Dohrn with Bill Ayers at the November 30, 2007 Michigan State University SDS Reunion

Shutting Down John Guandolo

New Students for a Democratic Society was cited at FightBack! News[1] as one of the groups who successfully intimidated venues to cancel events called "Threat of Islam to America".

"Earlier this week, anti-fascist groups from the Fox Valley and Green Bay led a phone blast campaign to the hotel where one of Guandolo's events was scheduled to take place. The announcement of confrontational protest in addition to phone calls pressured the venue to cancel the event, which was called, "Threat of Islam to America."


"Building on the Green Bay victory, activists in the Milwaukee area organized a call-in to a hotel in the Milwaukee suburb of Pewaukee. Area Islamic groups and individuals called the hotel, which is a popular wedding venue for Muslim families. Organizations such as the Milwaukee Coalition Against Trump, SDS, and Wisconsin Antifa networks spread the word online.
"In under 24 hours the Pewaukee venue announced that the event was no longer taking place. Worldview Weekend once again tweeted their response, saying "We have over $15,000 into conferences not counting mailing."
"In La Crosse, Wisconsin activists from the Interfaith Shoulder to Shoulder Network, and Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) were busy planning a mass rally and call-in for the last of three planned stops in Wisconsin. The venue, Onalaska Omni-Center, refused to cancel the event, citing the First Amendment. But activists in La Crosse and throughout the state continued to prepare for a demonstration.

2022 Convention, Oho

On October 15 and 16, 2022 members of the New Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) from across the United States gathered for their annual national convention at Kent State, Ohio.

Roughly 90 students from SDS chapters and affiliates listened to speakers and gave workshops, summing up their victories and losses over the past year. The convention was united under the slogan of, “Not Another Step Back!” in reference to the year-long fight to keep rights such as the right to an abortion, but also to win even more. They featured national SDS’ commitments to, “Fight for Black lives, defend Roe v. Wade, and stop homophobic and transphobic attacks.”

The panels sparked a fighting spirit. One highlight was the discussion of what it means to organize in solidarity with fighting workers and labor organizers, and how students can contribute. The keynote speaker of this panel was none other than Sara Nelson, the prominent labor leader and president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO.

On the same panel, speaking of student solidarity with unions and striking workers, Gillian Rath from the University of Minnesota SDS stated, “Big universities such as the University of Minnesota are run like corporations. They claim to support workers’ rights and workplace equality, but they don’t. So in academia, we are not taught these values.

Trenece Robinson traveled from Tallahassee to represent Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Generation Action, a youth organization that works closely with Planned Parenthood, who said that they are now on a lifelong trajectory to fight for reproductive justice.

“If you’re planning on getting involved with reproductive rights organizing,” Robinson said, “you need to be involved with groups like Planned Parenthood and New Students for a Democratic Society, and all groups fighting for the right to a safe and legal abortion, wherever you are. Just ask yourself, hey, what can I do? Whatever you do as an activist is just as important if not more important than any politician.”

The convention also hosted speakers for two more panels, one to talk about continuing the long-term fight against police crimes and another about continuing the long-term fight against U.S. wars and intervention. Raymond Greene, Jr., from the Freedom Black Led Organizing Collaborative, spoke about his experiences organizing for Justice for Jayland Walker, a young Black man who was killed by Akron police.

Speaking for National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Omar Flores of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, added the necessity of organizing to win justice. “We don’t want racism to die out, we want to stomp it out. Like Raymond said, we wouldn’t want the police to protect a Walmart, we need them to protect us from racists. But it’s up to us to win community control of the police to make that happen.”

Students then ended the day with a reaffirmation of SDS’ positions against U.S. wars and intervention, new and old. Kent State SDS member Lucas Fratianne connected the history of Kent State University, where four antiwar student protesters were killed by the National Guard, with the present-day struggle of students to continue to oppose U.S. wars. He reiterated SDS’ year-long commitment to stand in the way of a new U.S. war on Russia. “The U.S. has taken steps to take NATO and its wars to Russia’s doorstep. And we can’t let that happen.”

University of Illinois Chicago SDS member Liz Rathburn was more than happy to bring the floor news of a hard-won victory that is yet another strike against the U.S. government’s designs to create chaos in the Middle East and in Asia: the SDS chapter forced the university to cancel a new contract that allows the CIA access to recruit Arabic- and Chinese-speaking students directly from campus.

All in all, both days of the convention saw students jump to their feet to celebrate their wins or ask several earnest questions about furthering the struggle on their campuses. They passed several resolutions, including resolutions to free political prisoners, such as the kidnapped Venezuelan diplomat, Alex Saab, and the renowned Colombian peace negotiator, Simon Trinidad. Folks commended Kent State SDS for their excellent hosting, which brought tears to the organizers’ eyes.

“It was incredibly uplifting,” Marlo Crosby from the University of North Florida SDS said, “to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who are trying, just like I am, to engender progressive change within our society.”[2]

2019 convention, Jacksonville

On September 20, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) chapters from across the United States convened at the University of North Florida to reaffirm their commitment to student organizing and to discuss ways to, "Stop Trump, Stop Racism, Stop U.S. Military and Police Terror." The conference peaked at over 80 students with a dozen chapters represented.

Speeches and applause rang through the halls all weekend. Students opened the conference chanting, "Dare to struggle, dare to win!" The conference ended with, "It is our duty to fight for each other, it is our duty to win!"

On Saturday evening, students took to the streets of Jacksonville and rallied against police brutality at the Duval county courthouse. The second day of the conference, SDS calls to action showcased the seriousness of the activists of New SDS in building the student movement.

Students resolved to organize for “Justice for Botham Jean” who was murdered by police officer Amber Guyger. There are plans for protests if officer Guyger is acquitted. Students also voted to organize campus rallies on October 8 for LGBTQ+ rights. The U.S. Supreme Court is holding three hearings related to Title VII, calling for federal protections for LGBTQ+ people against harassment, termination and other discriminatory practices. Students also embraced a November 8 day of action on the anniversary of Trump’s election, in order to condemn Trump’s administration.

Students also renewed their determination to demonstrate against Trump's immigration policies, from the border wall to the concentration camps, and now ICE's new abilities to arrest and detain immigrants without a warrant. SDS embraced the demand for “Legalization For All” undocumented immigrants. SDS then pledged to continue organizing against hate crimes and white supremacist acts on campuses and to demand accountability from campus officials who allow them.

One of the highlights of the convention was a speech by Michael Sampson, a leading organizer of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, who spoke about the fight against police crimes. He discussed the movement to form civilian police accountability councils that is spreading across the country. New SDS as a national organization has endorsed this demand, as well as the upcoming refounding conference of the NAARPR, November 22-24 in Chicago.

Matthew Wheat, a new member of Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society, stated, “This was my first SDS convention. I was so happy to interact with and get to know other SDS members from around the country. Words cannot express how grateful I am to be a part of SDS, a group that is on the front lines of progressive change. I look forward to fighting bigotry and tyranny with a message of solidarity.”

SDS devoted much time on the panels and in workshops to strengthen their stance against U.S. wars and intervention, particularly the U.S. coup attempts in Venezuela. Students heard from Tracy Molm who visited Venezuela and saw firsthand the might of the Venezuelan people that crushed the attempted U.S. coup d’état.

New SDS resolved to continue to organize in solidarity with Venezuela, against the U.S. sanctions as well as other acts of war. SDS passed a resolution outlining the accomplishments of the Bolivarian Revolution in eradicating illiteracy and greatly expanding higher education as well as other social programs to benefit the people.

In response to Trump’s order to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia, in preparation for military aggression against Iran, SDS resolved to say, “No war on Iran!” SDS pledged also to resist U.S.-backed military aggression against the people’s movements in the Philippines and occupied Palestine as well.

SDS is united behind demands related to the climate crisis. Students proposed analysis and resolutions about the climate crisis, including a resolution calling for actions against fossil fuel industries that poison the earth, and a call to organize against pipeline constructions, similar to the Standing Rock campaign. SDS respects the sovereignty of indigenous people’s lands.

"The SDS convention was a think tank of conversations and exchange of ideas to inspire us and tell us to keep going. It is a reminder that student activists are here to stay and that we are not alone. We're on the right - no pun intended - track. Let's push things forward,” said Gabriela Medina from University of Texas Arlington Progressive Student Union.

“The SDS convention was an amazing show of student activism from around the country. We got to learn from each other’s struggles and make goals to build movements on our campus,” said Monique Sampson, of North Florida Students for a Democratic Society chapter, which hosted the convention.[3]

SDS 2006 Conference Schedule

Schedule for the Students for a Democratic Society conference at the University of Chicago, August 4-7 2006.

Friday, August 4


  • Plenary 1

Facilitator- Millicent Hadjivassiliou (Tacoma, Washington) Introductions- Pat Korte and Al Haber Local Chapter Reportbacks, Short Written Statements from Chapters Not in Attendence Conclusions- Tom Good

Saturday, August 5



Working Commitee Lunch

  • Chicago Caucus meeting for Chicago SDS
  • Viewing of Lauren Giaccone's New Orleans Documentary (Pace & NYC SDS),
  • Working Lunch on Ad Hoc Committees for Issues
  • Other informal caucuses or lunch



Saturday Night Protest

  • Hiroshima Day Commemoration and Protest - Hands Across the U.S.

Casual Presentations

  • Students in Revolt: SDS and the Global Student Movements of 2006 and Beyond - Adam Sanchez, Presentations, Freewheeling Discussion
  • Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) Business Meeting

Sunday, August 6



Working Caucus Lunch

  • Marxian Caucus - Tom Burgess to facilitate
  • Queer/Trans Caucus - Tristan Harlequin to facilitate
  • Anarchist Caucus - Brendan Dunn to facilitate
  • People of Color Caucus
  • Feminist Caucus
  • Environmental Caucus


Monday, August 7


Moratorium NOW!

On Sept. 17, 2008, the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions sponsored a rally at the Michigan State Capitol, demanding the State Legislature enact SB 1306, a two-year foreclosure moratorium bill. Represented at the rally was UNITE HERE, Change to Win, United Auto Workers, Service Employees International Union, American Federation of Teachers, Green Party of Michigan, Detroit Greens, the Cynthia McKinney presidential campaign, Students for a Democratic Society, National Lawyers Guild, Workers World Party, Food Not Bombs, Critical Moment, Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice, Michigan Welfare Rights, Call ’Em Out, Latinos Unidos of Michigan, Grand Rapids Latino Community Coalition, Joint Religious Organizing Network for Action and Hope, Adrian Dominican Sisters & Associates for Peace. The following led or spoke at the rally: Sandra Hines and Abayomi Azikiwe of the Moratorium NOW!; Kris Hamel; Reverend Ed Rowe, Central United Methodist Church; State Representatives Gabe Leland, Shanelle Jackson, Bettie Cook Scott and Steve Tobocman; State Sen. Martha G. Scott; Rubie Curl-Pinkins and her daughter Nikki Curl; Jerry Goldberg, people’s attorney and coalition leader; Juan Daniel Castro, Grand Rapids Latino Community Coalition; Linette Crosby; Larry Holmes, a leader of the Troops Out Now Coalition; Robert Pratt of UNITE HERE; and Rosendo Delgado of Latinos Unidos of Michigan.[4]

Moratorium NOW! is affiliated with the Bail Out the People Movement and is controlled by the Workers World Party. The organization's office is located at the Central United Methodist Church and holds meetings there.[5][6]

Solidarity with Sept. 24 FBI Raid Activists

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression lists New Students for a Democratic Society as one of the organizations that has issued a statement of solidarity in support of the activists raided in the September 24, 2010 FBI Raids.[7]

7th Annual National Convention, 2012

According to Michela Martinazzi, 70 student activists from all over the country arrived in Gainesville, Florida to attend the annual Students for a Democratic Society National Convention Oct. 27-28, 2012. The activists arrived from as far as Utah and Minnesota.

The convention began with opening statements by Robbey Hayes and Skye Schmelzer from the host Gainesville Chapter.

Stephanie Taylor, a national leader of SDS, reported, “It was awesome. SDS continues to be the largest anti-war student group, to organize for education rights, and there is a growing trend of struggle supporting women’s and LGBTQ issues. SDS invited the Dream Defenders who spoke about immigrant rights, justice for Trayvon Martin and exposing the Republican Party’s voter suppression in Florida. A Gainesville member of Students for Justice in Palestine spoke about boycott, divestment, and sanctions of Israel.”

Students attended different workshops, such as “Bad Acting Theater” and “Basic Organizing Skills.” SDS affiliate the Revolutionary Students Union presented “Turning Red States Red.” Other workshops included “Organizing Immigrant and Farmworker Rights Campaigns on Campus” and “Combating Male Chauvinism within Your SDS Chapter.”

Noor Elashi, an author, journalist and an advocate for her father and the Holy Land 5, spoke on the SDS plenary “Fighting Back Against Political Repression.”

Tom Burke, of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, was also on the panel. Burke is one of the 23 anti-war activists raided by the FBI in 2010.

Afterwards, Burke said, “Speaking to the SDS Convention was a powerful experience. I spoke about the FBI raids and grand jury repression, including members of SDS. I relayed my student experience with the Divest Now! campaign to smash racist Apartheid in South Africa. Then, with the Progressive Student Network in the 1980s, we organized campus protests against CIA recruitment. We acted in solidarity with the revolutionary movements of Nicaragua and El Salvador. In 1991, the PSN helped organize mass rallies to oppose the first U.S. Gulf War on Iraq.”

Burke continued, “Today’s student activists have known nothing but the U.S. always being at war. I spoke and emphasized the importance of supporting liberation struggles in Colombia and Palestine today, to stop U.S. intervention. Our effective organizing to stop U.S. funding of war and oppression is the reason Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas is continuing his investigation of the 23 anti-war activists, especially focused on Hatem Abudayyeh in Chicago.”

The second day of the SDS convention began by remembering Laura Elizabeth Langley from Alabama SDS and Andrew Stapleton from Tampa Bay SDS who died during the previous year. T

To guide each chapter in the year head, SDS passed resolutions. Most were a call to action, like “Close the School of the Americas” (the U.S. school that trains military death squads), and vowing to join the protest Nov. 16-18 at Fort Benning in Georgia. Another one, “Education Rights Days of Action,” plans to demand funding and access for education in the first week of March 2013. “SDS - Demand an End to All Wars and Occupations” calls for the end of U.S. war and occupation in Afghanistan and an end to the covert war and U.S. sanctions against Syria and Iran. It also demands an end to U.S. drone attacks. Another unanimously supported resolution, called for “Justice for Trayvon Martin.” Lastly, the SDS passed a resolution “Oppose U.S. Government Political Repression,” as part of the push back against the growing political repression by the U.S. government and police forces.

The day ended with each SDS chapter reporting back on the actions they organized in the past year and relaying their lessons and victories to the rest of convention attendees.

The closing of the convention was a boisterous and loud “otro golpe,” a Gainesville SDS tradition, which represents “another strike” against U.S. imperialist war and racism in the U.S. - and looking forward to the next victories for Students for a Democratic Society![8]

SDS National Convention, 2016


Public · Hosted by Students for a Democratic Society at UMN

October 8, 2016 – October 9, 2016

Oct 8, 2016 at 9 AM to Oct 9, 2016 at 1 PM CDT

The 2016 national convention of Students for a Democratic Society, here at the University of Minnesota!

Open to SDSers and non-SDSers alike!

Featuring guest speakers:

Speaking on issues like:

  • Anti-war and -repression activism
  • Anti-racism and police brutality
  • Student-labor solidarity
  • Education for all!
  • Palestine solidarity
  • Dump Trump!
  • Woman and non-binary folk in the movement

Invited on Facebook



SDS NWC Call 10/29


Public · Hosted by Students for a Democratic Society (National)

Sunday, October 29 at 8 PM CDT (2016?)

Facilitator: Lorenzo Osterheim (PCC SDS)

I. Political Developments II. Roll call III. National Convention Summation - What went well - What went less well - What we can do better next year IV. Set due date for resolution edits V. Further discuss new structure proposal VI. SDS Speaker Response List - Pick people we want to protest VII. Pick next facilitator[9]

Invited on Facebook



Chapters and Affiliates, 2017















New York

North Carolina



South Carolina




West Virginia


2008 affiliates

Mid-West Region







North Dakota



Northeast Region





New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York


Rhode Island

Washington, DC

Northwest Region



Southeast Region


  • University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL


  • FAU SDS (Florida Atlantic University), Boca Raton, FL
  • Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL Mike C.
  • UCF SDS (University of Central Florida), Orlando, FL Ashley H.
  • UF SDS (University of Florida), Gainesville, FL

Louisiana UL SDS, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA Jeremy Brannon, Patrick Flanagan

North Carolina



  • University of North Texas, Denton


Southwest Region



  • Animas SDS, Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO Nathan Coe
  • Denver SDS, Denver Area Universities, Colorado Jojo[10]

2006 affiliates

Chapter List (245 Registered)

High School Chapters (46)

University Chapters (138)

SDS/MDS Chapters (52)

State Chapters (10)

*SDS Wyoming No Organizer Yet

National Entities (9)

Movement for a Democratic Society National Org

Not Specified (1)

External Links